This was an incredibly intense night of music at The Asylum, Birmingham, featuring Imperial Triumphant and Abduction, two bands who are purveyors of music at the very dark end of the spectrum.
Imperial Triumphant – Abduction
The Asylum, Birmingham – 19 April 2023
Words and Photography: Andy Shaw
First up were Abduction, who set out the tone for the evening straight away with Kernos Crown from their latest Black Blood album. Abduction’s central protagonist A|V entered the stage with a full black cloak and hood, sporting a rather eerie mask and a necklace of bones. This added a wonderful visual atmosphere to the stunning gravely vocals.
A|V has, in recent years, expanded the band from a solo project into a full live outfit to better create intense and immersive performances.
Next were two more from Black Blood – Dismantling The Corpse Of Demeter and Plutonian Gate. The intensity of the music was matched by the low and backlit lighting together with plenty of dry ice, creating a brilliant ambience on the stage.
The band had their faces covered and perfectly dovetailed each other creating an amazing sound. This crowd were totally enraptured by the heavy vibe created by the band’s take on Black Metal.
Next was Infinite Ancient Hexes, followed by A Psylacybic Death. This brilliant set ended with Convulsing At Baalbek. Long may they continue to make and perform their variety of Black Metal.
It was time for New York’s Imperial Triumphant, one of the most extraordinary and original bands on the circuit at the moment. Their brand of jazz-infused Death/Black Metal is utterly bewitching on record, but to get the chance to see them live is incredible.
They kicked off with Tower Of Glory, City Of Shame, then Metrovertigo from their latest album Spirit Of Ecstasy. The level of musical expertise required to make this work is utterly bewildering.
All three members of the band – Zachary Ilya Ezrin – vocals, guitars, Kenny Grohowski – drums and Steve Blanco – bass, vocals, are showing themselves as the finest exponents of their craft. All three were wearing black and adorned with masks enhancing the level of mystery surrounding the band.
Next is Atomic Age, followed by Devs est Machina. At this point, Ezrin shakes and then opens a bottle of champagne, spraying the audience, which is customary at some point during each show. Blanco uses the empty bottle for a bit of bass virtuosity before another new song, Death On A Highway, then into Rotted Futures.
The Asylum crowd are in awe of what they are witnessing, not a night to mosh or dance just to be taken to a different place. The set ends with a trio of songs from their 2018 album Vile Luxury – starting with the stunning Chernobyl Blues, then Cosmopolis finishing with Swarming Opulence.
We leave not quite knowing quite how to put this into context but knowing we had witnessed something truly remarkable.