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Imperial Child - Compass for Evil Award winner

Imperial Child
Compass for Evil
by Emily Schneider at 10 May 2020, 4:31 PM

Imagine the high seas; deep blue water, gloomy gray skies, and a crashing tide surrounding a massive ship. The Norwegian band IMPERIAL CHILD takes this mystifying sea setting and creates a dark tale with pirates, tragedy and The Devil. They tell the first part of the dark story of William Green through Progressive Power Metal soundscapes and man, it certainly is an emotion-fueled adventure worth indulging on.
“William Green” is, of course, the intro track that sets the base of the concept for the album. There's some narration plus some dream-like whispering of the name paired with some organ and a music box like melody. “The Imperial Child” kicks in with some awesome heavy riffs. The bridge/solo portion is intriguing with the rolling drums and low groan-like bass line, plus some haunting choirs and keys. These little elements paints the setting surrounding the living dead main character, William Green, rather vividly. “Darren Half-Eye” starts with some chuggy riffs that sound like the crashing of violent waves against a ship's bow. It leads into the introduction of Darren Half-Eye, the ruthless buccaneer. The chorus is rather catchy and the solo is shredtastic and awesome. “Stormbringer” creates a visual of a hurricane with frantic lightning fast guitars and the crashing waves of drums. The pipe organ and chilling choirs build the fear and urgency of the song. “Priscilla” is an emotional ballad. The way the song grew more dynamic about midway through is excellent, it's like the emotions were building up into this cathartic guitar solo in the heart of the track. The whirl-like melody of the keys enhanced this feeling of 'is this really happening to me?' Also, Chris's voice gave me goosebumps, especially as he belted out “please come back to me” then repeated it, growing quieter each time as the song was ending. You could feel the desperation and William's heart breaking by the song's end.
“The Devil and the Buccaneer” seeps with this vengeful pissed off energy. The dynamic choirs add to the atmosphere of an attempted showdown at sea. There's an almost musical theater feel to the verses, then the chorus comes in with a rage-fueled bite. The bass lines in this song are low and pulse-like at points, which really enhances the emotions rolling through this song. The energy shifts pretty hard in the interlude track “A Buccaneer's Hymn”. It's mostly The Buccaneer taunting William, feeling he has the upper hand in this scenario. “Libertalia” features the incredible Zak Stevens (ex-SAVATAGE) on vocals. This song is basically The Buccaneer's taunts that William is in for a world of suffering for escaping their clutches. This song has some cool speedy vocal portions and a hopscotch like basslines. I love the synthy key portion at the bridge, just before the final chorus chimes in; it adds this otherworldly feeling of foreboding. “Victim of Hate” is a slower, remorseful track. The vocals are once again, emotional and so fitting for how William, who escaped from a true force of evil, isn't exactly celebrating. The guitars create this scene of a solitary man on a ship, full of confusion, sorrow and loathing for and against himself. “The Quest for Jerusalem” is the epic final track. This one is most certainly the most Progressive styled, with some fascinating key changes all throughout as William's quest to freedom unfolds. I really love the keys and use of the choirs and layered vocals. There's this triumphant feeling to the melodies that grow more dynamic as William learns what he must do to defeat the devil. The song ends just as his task is revealed, via a low toned spoken narration.
Overall, wow, I really enjoyed this album! The storytelling was absolutely awesome, the songs were not only well written lyrically, but also musically. I could easily visualize William's dark and twisted story as I listened to this album twice over. I love how they kept a whimsical feel in each track by using either the music box melodies or the beautiful dancing piano/keys later on. The vocals were also so compelling and emotional; I got so invested in hearing what was going to happen next. The guitar work was heavy, technical, and expressive; many of the solos added another layer of pure emotion to the songs as well. I think my only issue now is this album ended on a cliffhanger. I hope it won't be long before the follow-up for “Compass of Evil” not just because this album was enjoyable, but also because I've just gotta know if William will be able to stop The Devil and The Buccaneer forevermore.
Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1 William Green
2 The Imperial Child
3 Darren Half-Eye
4 Stormbringer
5 Priscilla
6 The Devil and the Buccaneer
7 A Buccaneer's Hymn
8 Libertalia
9 Victim of Hate
10 The Quest For Jerusalem
Chris DeWolf -Vocals
Eagle McMorgan -Drums
Vasily Silura -Bass
Record Label: Soulmaker Records


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