One thing that I really love about being completely obsessed with music is discovering all of the cult bands and releases. It fills you with a strange sense of achievement as if you’ve attained some sort of prowess in your own mind. It also represents the fact that your knowledge of said genre has gone above and beyond the general level and you have now become a complete nerd. The downside is that you begin to recommend utterly unknown and totally obscure releases to friends who likely have little to no knowledge of what you’re talking about, essentially you become a rambling geek.
One such band whom I have been known to bring up in casual Death Metal conversation is Imprecation. These Texan Death Metallers formed in 1991, making them a fairly early contender as far as the Death Metal scene goes. Equally given their Texas roots they could be said to have influence the surge of Brutal Death Metal bands from the state in years to come. Their output however was limited to a couple of demos and an EP which were in turn compiled together for the 1995 release Theurgia Goetia Sumna which is probably the bands most notable work. After splitting in 1998 they reformed again in 2009 to put out their debut full length Satanae Tenebris Infinita in 2013. Now in 2019 we come to their sophomore output Damnatio Ad Bestias, but can it light the way for their growing cult?
One thing to bear in mind with Imprecation is that they tend to flirt with the ideals of War Metal in a similar vein to Archgoat. Their music is namely Death Metal based down to the finest point but they certainly wouldn’t be out of place on a line up with Conqueror or Blasphemy. This is due to their Satanic branded ideologies where there is an emphasis of total desecration through means of the Occult. The sound is certainly old school with low growling vocals and break-neck speed instrumentation, not to mention the Slayer-esque solos, most notably in Morbid Crucifixion. This savagery is backed up with notions of catchy riff work and lyrics in Baptized In Satan’s Blood, a track that teases War Metal but gives off something much more polished.
This trend continues through to the second portion of the album, with more rapid, fast paced purist Death Metal. Unlike a lot of releases of this calibre Damnatio Ad Bestias remains interesting throughout, whether that is a product of the bands prior experience within the genre during their early days it is unclear. Yet regardless it can only be a bonus, I get a real sense that Imprecation know exactly the sort of sound they want and they achieve it. The Shepherd And The Flock stands as another blasphemous tome, with some longer more drawn out sections which are a welcome break from the relentless, surrounding barbarity of this release. The track almost becomes hypnotic and nigh on ritualistic, but just as we lose focus we are thrust back into the fray of destruction.
Basically Damnatio Ad Bestias goes to show me just why I hold Imprecation in such high regard. It acts as a continuation of their cult legacy and equally a new pasture by which new followers can be recruited. The fringe War Metal ideas displayed are equally intriguing and a welcome evolution for the band, they give them a little extra flare and place them amongst some bigger names within the underground Metal scene. I truly hope that this album sparks a new generation of Imprecation fans on a worldwide basis, an unsung band whom deserve far more unholy praise.
(8/10 George Caley)