Imperial Execration – Commanding Satan’s Crusades Review

After a recent, rare reviewing foray into black metal territory got derailed by goddamn Nazis, it was time to dust myself off and dive headlong into the questionable depths of the December promo sump. And what better way to emerge from the muck and finish off the year with a low-brow display of brutal death, courtesy of London-based bruisers, Imperial Execration? Although I have enjoyed plenty of quality death metal albums in 2022, truly standout albums of the brutal death variety, have been few and far between. Perhaps it’s an example of my own investigative tardiness in not having my finger on the underground pulse as effectively. Either way, let’s see if the often-mixed bag nature of the brutal death scene can yield some tasty surprises to end the year. Imperial Execration arrives on the scene, signed with expert purveyors of sewage-caked brutality Comatose Music, armed with a compact debut LP, entitled Commanding Satan’s Crusades.

Formed in 2019, the young trio keep it short and sweet on a full-length album with a grind like 22-minute runtime. Not necessarily a bad thing, as brutal death/slam can sometimes lose impact and overstay its welcome if the execution or writing has some kinks. Right off the bat Imperial Execration lay their cards on the table, weeding out the unseasoned and those with sensitive ears on the pugnacious slab of chunk, blasts, incomprehensible guttural expulsions and slamming grooves of “Summoning of the Ancient Hordes.” In typical slam fashion, subtlety it not an option, the wet, sloppy musical barrage colliding in primitive fashion, like a soundtrack to a battle between an army of hammers vs boulders.

The constant barrage of blasts, double bass and repugnant vocalizations are occasionally punctuated by the occasional slimy crawl or obligatory slam section, adding a modicum of groove and dynamics to otherwise painfully uncreative and one-dimensional compositions that are difficult to differentiate from one another. Too often these flaws result in a monotonous slab of unrefined and forgettable brootality. Commanding Satan’s Crusades pummels through short, obliterating slabs of brutal slamming death, before culminating on an extra heavy cover of Dehumanized’s “Condemned.” Modern slam and shades of the thick, devastating crush of stalwarts Deeds of Flesh color the frantic assault on the senses, such as the uber-brutal beatdown and extremely guttural throes of “Lords of Tyrannical Perversion,” one of the album’s more engaging tunes. Unfortunately, interest or lasting engagement is otherwise limited as the writing fails to take hold.

The over-the-top extremity and relentless assault featured throughout Commanding Satan’s Crusades emphasize the band’s brutality at-all-costs mission statement. However, the biggest issues here are in relation to songwriting flaws and obnoxiously shitty, fatiguing production. It’s cool to hear solid bass action finding a presence in the mix, however, the songs generally lack standout moments, bleeding together and lacking decent or memorable riffs. All the ingredients are in place, while I cannot fault Imperial Execration’s obvious love of their craft and dedication to battering senses. If the trio can refine their instrumental skills, craft a more potent batch of riffs, and ditch the soupy, ear-smashing production values, brighter things may be in store for the band’s future recording endeavors.

Brutal death or slam hasn’t really delivered much of note for me in 2022, aside from the odd album of substance such as Analepsy’s punishing and far more worthy Quiescence album. Hardcore brutal death and slam enthusiasts may find more to enjoy here, but for this listener, Imperial Execration fall short in a number of fundamental areas, especially in the riff and production departments, to sustain interest and make Commanding Satan’s Crusades a brutal slab worth investing in.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 3 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Comatose Music
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: December 9th, 2022

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