September 2016 is looking to be a month of heavy albums, as the likes of Opeth, Evergrey, Oddland, and now Imminent Sonic Destruction are set to release new offerings. I’ve felt like 2016 has had a disturbing lack of progressive metal that suits my tastes thus far, but now my appetite is getting fed. Imminent Sonic Destruction hails from Detroit, Michigan, and I actually first saw them up in Michigan at a Haken show. I was instantly impressed with not only the tightness of their performance, but also by the sheer joy that was visible. This band loves to play together. So, here their new album “Triumphia” is releasing soon, and I was happy to get a chance to hear their new effort.
Imminent Sonic Destruction (ISD) plays progressive metal that rests on giant riffs, orchestral keys, and grooving bass and drums. At first listen, I instantly would have put them closer to the like of Pagan’s Mind, Vanden Plas, and Fates Warning, but I think I’m starting to see them as a combination of the new wave of progressive metal with the classic style established by Fates Warning and Dream Theater. So, while they have the huge riffs and the epic keys, they also push the groove and technical aspects of their music, too.
Another thing that sticks out is the raw feeling of their music. Obviously, this is a band that does not have an astronomical budget as other acts do. The mix sounds great (you can hear the bass really well!), but the music still sounds very personal and raw, like it was made for small clubs. Maybe it was. This raw feeling comes mainly from the gritty and harsh vox, the vicious riffs, and the enclosed feeling of the keys. Despite being influenced by “epic” bands, that type of feeling isn’t generally prevalent here. Instead, it is down and dirty, though the album is more upbeat than you might imagine, too. It’s like a group of friends play heavy music, but having the time of their lives.
This group of friends is Pat DeLeon on drums, Pete Hopersberger on keyboards, Bryan Paxton on bass, Tony Piccoli on vocals and guitar, and Scott Thompson on guitar. Tony and Scott lay down some majorly meaty riffs in spectacular unison. I’d even call this “super” metal at times, as it is so over the top musically. The guitars here are especially enjoyable because there is no hint of blurriness to them. The riffs are clear and precise and performed with passion.
Bryan’s bass and Pat’s drums, too, are an important piece. The grooves they lay down are ear catching, and the mix does them justice so that you can hear everything. Lastly, Pete’s keys are the most melodic portion of the music. Sometimes, they are haunting and fragile piano, while other times they are gigantic and orchestral waves. At all times, however, Pete produces quality melodies that do more than just accent the music; they create whole new layers.
Tony’s vocals, too, impressed me. He wouldn’t be the stand out in prog metal for his range. No, he makes his impact with his well-composed vocal lines and his Bob Evans waiter stage outfit. Who would have thought that this sweater vest guy could lay down some sweet harsh vox while also performing crushing riffage?
“Triumphia”, as an album, is one of dark fantasy lyrically, but is played in a rather upbeat fashion to where it is simply fun to hear. Dare I say that it is triumphant in tone? No, I probably shouldn’t go there. The album begins in a more orchestral fashion with “The Crashing Waves”, transitions to “Something in the Way” with its fantastic chorus, and then introduces the single “The Fog”. While I love that latter track, I do think it’s the weakest on the album, and the chorus is a bit unimaginative.
My favorite three tracks come next, leaving the orchestral sound behind somewhat for a darker, more underground groove session. “Sleepless” is a haunting with even meatier riffs and blazing bass. “Lake of Fire” has a great instrumental near the end, and “The Knife” is a track I originally heard live in Michigan, and it’s wonderfully progressive. Lastly, “Arborous Calm” is a 22+ minute epic of sorts that kind of runs through all the sounds and textures that we heard throughout the album. It doesn’t really feel that long, which is a big plus in my book.
Overall, I’m really happy with what I hear from Imminent Sonic Destruction. “Triumphia” is an album of contrasts, monster riffs, beautiful tones, and a story I don’t understand yet. Best of all, you can tell this album was made with passion and heart, and that the band is having the time of their lives. I can’t emphasize enough how much you need to support smaller bands like this, so grab a copy.