Review Summary: Another case of a decent band lacking key songwriting skills, leading to a sub par first effort.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Imperial – We Sail at Dawn
Dale Dupree – Vocals
Brandon Pangle – Vocals
Josh Lightfoot – Guitar
Ivan Sherman – Guitar
Zack Fortune – Bass
Joe Gatell – Drums
When I was in middle school, my perception of good and bad music was, well, frail to say the least. I considered Korn and Slipknot to be the most hardcore bands out there up until I was 14 years old. Once I moved out of my nu-metal phase, simple riffs in As I Lay Dying songs such as Confined and 94 Hours kept me content for hours at a time. Then, digging deep into As I Lay Dying’s history at Pluto Records, I stumbled upon Imperial. This was the most intense metalcore I had ever heard. Imperial is a 6-piece group emerging from the famous Orlando metalcore scene. Before this album, they had released a short EP entitled “This Grave is My Poem.” After experiencing some success as a Myspace band, they released “We Sail at Dawn.” I recently listened to this full-length debut a few times again, and unfortunately, it contains far too many flaws for me to even consider listening to on a daily basis.
Starting with the bad, it seems that little or no effort was put into this album. Of the 11 tracks, 2 are filler instrumentals, and 2 are re-recordings of older songs. The verses in nearly all of the songs are repeated at least once, which makes for ridiculously repetitive and boring individual songs. The drummer has only one thing in his repertoire; the double bass. It suits the music perfectly, but this music is choppy and bland. The lyrics are occasionally interesting, but they don’t deal with any apparent topics outside of personal issues of the band members, and I have definitely seen middle and high school poetry more impressive than this writing. Guitars are simple and have been heard before, but every few songs you’ll here something mildly interesting, for the metalcore genre at least.
The duel vocalists in the lineup are far less enjoyable than some would hope, after hearing the product in bands like TNTLLY. Two monotonous screamers adding in a small bit of poor singing every few songs isn’t pleasant. But enough of what this band did poorly, on to what they did right. Three tracks on here are good enough to be on a very decent metalcore release. Remember Hell is flat out brutal; it’ll get your blood pumping in an instant and never lets up, featuring a neat little background riff and the most enjoyable heavy vocals on the album. The title track, We Sail at Dawn, is filled with a nice little collection of riffs, while boasting a decent, melodic chorus. It is one of the least repetitive songs on the album, making it an enjoyable listen throughout. Drinking Wine from the Wounds of our Dead Wives was my old favorite. It starts out with a relaxing piano intro, and then repeats the intro on a guitar, which makes for the songs main riff and the bands best riff to date. They’re no Protest the Hero, but bits like this are appreciated.
It’s really hard to tell if Imperial is going to go anywhere with what they’ve got right now, because I don’t think they have really displayed their full talent on either of their releases. For now, stay away from this album. I’d recommend checking out the few good tracks on their Myspace or their Purevolume though. If you enjoy them, you can find their album on iTunes, or buy it at Best Buy like I did.
We Sail at Dawn
Drinking Wine from the Wounds of our Dead Wives
Some guitar riffs
Vocals are terrible, save for the highlight tracks
Songwriting is awful
Drums are boring
For fans of: Older As I Lay Dying releases, Metalcore