Fjords of New York



Vile Luxury

Imperial Triumphant’s New York hometown serves as the foundation for Vile Luxury, as it tackles the duality of a cityscape where the architectu­ral grandeur and lush exterior are facades for the throbbing perversion lurking beneath the surface. Duality and contrast are key, as the smooth sophistica­tion of jazz clashes and melds with the primal ferocity of blackened death metal. The increased integratio­n of jazz is laid bare on “Swarming Opulence,” at once setting a scene of regal majesty and shadowed avenues in the glow of street lamps, before making way for the blast of tempestuou­s death. But the line is blurred, too, as on “Cosmopolis,” with the latter half becoming a bestial freeform, as though Deathspell Omega joined up with Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk. “Mother Machine” puts Imperial Triumphant’s jazz chops on display without the clout of blast beats or howling roars, and offers some respite from the madness, no doubt emulating the dazed stupor of the listener in the wake of something like the panicked insanity of “Chernobyl Blues.” With scathing complexity

Rocky tracks to A$AP Ferg’s “Eastcoast.” JustJohn adds his flavour while showing homage to the OGs. (Independen­t) POP

Imperial Triumphant

and unrelentin­g vigour, Vile Luxury is not consumed easily, as it cannot really be listened to like normal music. Imperial Triumphant pull no punches, which is why

Vile Luxury is a masterpiec­e of avant-garde expression. (Gilead Media, gileadmedi­a.net)

How does Vile Luxury compare to your earlier work?

Bassist Steve Blanco: I think it’s definitely further along. This is what we talk about: the darkness of the urban apex of civilizati­on, transferen­ce of power. We love a lot of Norwegian black metal, but we’re not from the fjords of Norway, so if we write about that, it’s not who we are. We’re from New York — that’s our fjords. Singer/guitarist Zach Ezrin: We’re trying to build a world, conceptual­ly, because that’s what people are really drawn into, and more than just the music, they want to get to know everything about this band, the imagery, and we provide a pretty solid package that’s not just, “here’s our music.” We want to give you a very in-depth and somewhat mysterious thing to chip away at and explore.

vocals and blown-out drums suddenly cut out, as Straus’s usually restrained voice pushes and breaks in the silence. In these imperfecti­ons, Make My Bed finds its signature emotional honesty. Throughout such lucid moments of love, desire and regret, King Princess never loses sight of the politics that govern these personal emotions. While not as explicit as recent political pop albums like U.S. Girls’ In a Poem Unlimited, Straus’s work succeeds in crafting tracks that reorient the musical and lyrical tropes of modern pop through a plainly queer lens. See “1950,” a barebones earworm that sets moving lyrics about the suppressio­n of queer desire to a finger-snapping melodic sweetness. Though other moments on Make My Bed never quite communicat­e the same political depth, this closing track powerfully reminds us of the political forces bound up with personal relationsh­ips on this winning first release. (Zelig) POP

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