When done right, metal is more than just music, it’s a work of art. This is exactly how I feel about Imperial Destruction’s single Like Wolves That Bare Their Teeth which is a sample of what to expect from their album ‘Ruinous’ coming out in 2016. It’s certainly a good start for the band, as well as the genre in this part of the world. The single’s stellar production also makes the effort accessible for any metal head, whether they’ve heard death metal or not. The song’s theme might be offensive to most people, but it is actually more about empowerment and overcoming trauma.
Like Wolves That Bare Their Teeth isn’t an all-ahead assault of speed, but it also isn’t at all refined; its primitive nature is easily apparent. It’s without doubt a good song, but why? The riffs, while nowhere near bad, are fairly simple, the lyrics aren’t much of a cut above an average death metal band. It is so well executed, it’s nearly impossible to pick its flaws. Jason Modryc’s impressive vocals is still harsh, but sounds much crisper than I’ve heard before now. The song manages to be thrashy, infectious and beautiful all at the same time. One reason for this is due to balance. No feel of redundancy and all the instruments blends together perfectly. Another reason is musicianship. Bester lays down very impressive and simple riffs, but even the bass manages to stand out. Like Wolves Bare Their Teeth is good because of the experimentation on it. What is so remarkable here is how Imperial Destruction tried to redefine what can be perceived as ‘extreme’. Of course, the single has a glut of the trademark bile spitting intensity, such as the ravenous ‘Age of Ra’ and some skin flaying riff work off ‘The Witch Hunt’. There is certainly no lack of the sonic violence that the band has always served up so vehemently, indeed at points they sound more irate than ever. Yet, the inclusion of some undoubtedly head turning endeavours really do display a healthy willingness to avoid treading water.
Special mention however must go to the appearance of some shrieking discordant riffs on the song. Weaving its way shrilly over the relentless blasting, it is inharmonious, visceral, chaotic…and works flawlessly, evoking a stunning sense of hysteria that would have been nigh on impossible to achieve had the band not maintained such a keen eagerness to experiment. Like Wolves That Bare Their Teeth ultimately proves what a monumental force Imperial Destruction would be in the near future of Death Metal in Africa. Whilst many may dwell on the bands past singles, the fact remains that these pissed off Afrikaans continue to push boundaries and break rules when simultaneously remaining uncompromisingly savage and enduringly sincere. For those that can bring themselves to listen to anything post – 2000, it is clear that these guys know their onions.
There are problems, though. There is a lack of production clarity. Unfortunately, the song is greatly held back by the execution of its greatest assets. Much of the experimenting was sloppy and uncoordinated leading to a cringe factor that hits one almost as unexpectedly as the implementation itself. The clean singing and chanting often sounds like it was recorded in the span of a few minutes, leading to a lack of blending and a clash of sounds. Not enough can be said about the variation involved here. The band used so many elements in their Death Metal that the music is downright unpredictable. You never know if you’re going to get hit with ambience, acoustic guitars, clean singing, or bass-driven melodies. Nothing can be anticipated on this single, as every second spawns something completely different. The weak attempts at adding unique dimensions to the music manages to balance out the excellent ones fairly evenly. Lucky for Imperial Destruction, the instrumental variations of the music slightly dominates making for a strange yet enjoyable listen.
Imperial Destruction’s early death metal days is gradually becoming famous for the depth and originality involved in the writing, and Like Wolves That Bare Their Teeth is the beginning of that incredible legacy.
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