There is an overpowering beauty in something which is intensively tormented and destructively passionate, equally a compelling attraction in the most vicious inner struggles of man and their corrosive shadows, and that beauteous temptation does not come any more irresistible than the new album from US metallers Imbroglio. Returning from an obviously potent hiatus, the band has unleashed the ravenous The Struggle in Pursuit, a breath-taking slab of creative savagery which will leave newcomers to the band reeling and bring existing fans their most richly absorbing and imaginatively consuming presence yet.
It was a surprise when the Ohio band announced it was going on a hiatus on the eve of the release of their previous acclaimed full-length Declared Self Hatred. It was something which was desperately needed as band founder and guitarist /vocalist D.J. Gilbert revealed in an interview with Exclaim!, where he stated “I no longer felt a fire burning inside because with Declared Self Hatred I felt like I finally wrote my final piece, my suicide note. I knew I was on my way to the easy way out. I literally expelled every ounce of hate for myself on that record. So it was either put it on an indefinite hiatus for a while or just allows myself to self-destruct.“
Initially with the intent of starting a new band when ready to return to creating music, Gilbert was persuaded by new band member Bret Newland (drums/vocals) that the project had to stay as Imbroglio; that whatever Gilbert wrote and performed it would sound like the band anyway. Original band member Josh Deeter (bass/vocals) returned to complete the line-up with the trio setting about making returning EP which they recorded with Bobby Leonard. Featuring the contribution of keys and synths on a couple of tracks by Devon Robillard, who had played bass in the band at the time of the Sleep Deprivation album, The Struggle in Pursuit takes little time in smothering the senses and imagination in aural causticity and lyrical ravages incited by the struggle in the pursuit of happiness in today’s social climate. The songs rage and stand defiant against the wrongs and obstacles in life but with a triumphant and provocative stance promoting a broad and personal freedom.
The inventive tempest of grind, sludge, and doom metal from the band is veined by their most exhilarating and rigorous experimental exploration to date; exhaustive and captivating invention immediately paraded on opener Full Speed. As its title implies, the song races through ears from its first breath, rhythms thundering down upon the senses and riffs immediately abrasing and flailing everything before them. Vocals need little coaxing to sear the air with vitriolic suasion as the bass darkens the imposing and strenuous maelstrom further. It is a disorientating treat, sonic spirals of invention and searing toxicity enflaming the imagination and an already drooling appetite for song and release. The track continues to lurch over and rip through the senses with sabre flung sonic twists of sound and a rhythmic predation which intimidates and commands full submission to its inciting call simultaneously.
The outstanding start is matched by the thick intensity and equally rapacious antagonism of Approaching, the track soaked in a passionate rabidity and driven by an anthemic enticement within a maelstrom of noise and intrigue. The track roars and rages as it engages and recruits the passions, every second a ferocious protagonist and every twist a mouthwatering intrusion of cutting sonic endeavour and enterprise. There is little time to concentrate on a single moment, the voracious attack and invention of songs a turbulence which needs numerous exploits to explore fully which this and the following Gravity are perfect thrilling examples of. The third song of the release barracks and engages thoughts and emotions from its first touch, riffs and rhythms tenderising the senses as the guitar spurts potent sonic toxicity throughout the provocative landscape. It is a riveting furnace of emotion and sound which reaches a new height when solemn darkly toned clean vocals duet with the coarse squalls of voice and sound beneath them. It is a tremendous sprawling and suffocating embrace of harsh and invigorating endeavour leaving the body a broadly smiling wasted mess.
Day Break gives no time for a breather or respite as it leaps straight at the listener, drums puncturing every inch of the psyche into which the guitars and vocal lay their vicious irresistible bait whilst the bass looks on with a dark hearted yet seductive lure. There is a hardcore violence to the track also which only accentuates its almost visceral predation leaving emotions smouldering and senses bruised. Its primal insistence makes way for Desolation, another track where the title reveals all before any sniff of the suffocating ambience and emotional suffering can soak the ears. It is a glorious cloud of despair and intent; one speared and split apart by unpredictable sonic imagination and skilled melody inspired shafts of scorched light. A towering conclusion to a quite brilliant encounter, the return of Imbroglio has given metal a new proposition to wax lyrical over, The Struggle in Pursuit deserving all the acclaim destined to come its way.
The Struggle in Pursuit is out via The Path Less Traveled Records now!
RingMaster Review 16/04/2014
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