When a band as out there as Imperial Triumphant comes in your neighborhood, you don’t hesitate and make sure you get to that show. So when these US avant-garde black/death metal mysteries had a stop in Helsinki on their ‘Mother of Greed’ Europe tour, that’s exactly what I did. And with just recently announced a new album coming, maybe there would be some new masterpieces getting thrown at us for the very first time live. Reason enough to exchange a sunny Monday evening for a couple of hours of pure and utter darkness and music madness.
To warm us up and get our mindset right for the madness that was to come later, Helsinki locals Devenial Verdict set up to blow us away with their crushingly brutal and highly technical death metal. Going into this not really knowing what to expect besides some damn heavy music, they quickly convinced with their maelstrom of extreme metal. Blistering guitar riffs and solos, a rumbling bass that was handled expertly using probably almost every fret and snare, drums that at times seemingly went their own way with crazy rhythms and fills and a vocalist that purged some demons throughout the set. Definitely no easy listening music, but that’s not why we’re here, and it really hit like a wrecking ball. Very pleasant discovery that got me totally ready for what was coming next!
Saying that Devenial Verdict totally prepared me for the Imperial Triumphant show might be a slight overstatement. The atmosphere building and the way they use their instruments simply blows everything out of the water. I’ve heard sounds coming from the bass that I never would have imagined to come from the instrument, the drums were all over the place but still held everything together and the guitar was handled in a simply unique way, spewing out not only tasty riffs, but also some fascinating sound effects. All of that blended together into a wall of sound that was otherworldly weird and immensely captivating at the same time. Add to that the weird samples and masks that took us to the art deco era metropolitan of New York, and you’d completely forget you’re in a rock venue in center Helsinki. The decadence of that period got translated live even further when vocalist/guitarist Ilya made a bottle of sparkling wine appear that he poured in the mouths and on the heads of those in the first couple of rows of fans in front of the stage. This was really quite the experience that will go down in the books as one of the highlights of my 2022 live experiences.