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Imperator - The Time Before Time (Reissue)

The Time Before Time (Reissue)
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 August 2019, 11:26 AM

IMPERATOR hails from Poland and formed in 1984. “The Time Before Time” was originally issued in 1991. The album was eventually published on a small Polish label who ran into distribution problems, which nearly bankrupted the band. It would seem that Nuclear War Now! Productions recently picked up the band to re-issue their lone full length album, titled “The Time Before Time.” The album contains nine tracks.

“Eternal Might” is sort of a cross of Death, Thrash and Black Metal. The vocals lie somewhere in between. It picks up in pace around the half-way mark into a flurry of instruments. The riffing is varied from there but it holds a central sound. “Abhorrence” opens with a Thrashy riff and some time variations. The vocals are really the only thing that keeps it in the Black Metal realm, but the riffing is more akin to the Trash/Speed Metal genre. “Necronomicon” opens with a speedy and authoritative riff that climbs here and there, stretching out of conventional norms. A guitar solo ushers in a speedier riff section.

“Persecutor” opens with guttural vocals and a slower pace. From there, the riffs are all over the place. Fast in the verses, then pauses, then fast again, with a wirey guitar solo. “Defunct Dimension” is the first song that offer some diversity, opening with a harrowing section that sound like they are summoning the dead. “External Extinction” offers little in the way of diversity. I get that this was the early blueprint for Black Metal but it really pales in comparison to the genre today. “Ancient Race” is more of the same. The riffs are at least interesting and vary from song to song. You can also get a sense of how the band’s musicianship is developed. “Love is the Law (Love under Will)” opens slowly and the production is different here. It’s very crude, as it should be, but somehow a little more clear than earlier songs.

“The Rest is Silence” closes the album. That spastic riffing pattern is on full display here. It’s hard to imagine going back to 1991 when this album was release…what was the state of musical affairs then? Well, I was 23, and mostly into Glam bands at the time, though I liked bands like MEGADETH and PANTERA as well. I really was unaware of the Black Metal and Death Metal movements. I would say after all these years of enjoying these genres however that this album was probably pretty groundbreaking for the time. However as I mentioned before, it pales in comparison with what is out there no so there is no need to waste your time on something like this…sorry.

Songwriting: 3
Originality: 3
Memorability: 2
Production: 4

1 Star Rating

1. Eternal Might
2. Abhorrence
3. Necronomicon
4. Persecutor
5. Defunct Dimension
6. External Extinction
7. Ancient Race
8. Love is the Law (Love under Will)
9. The Rest is Silence
Bariel – Vocals, Guitars
Chris – Vocals, Guitars
Novok – Bass
Richter – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions


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