Review: Imminence – The Black

While 'The Black' has plenty of strengths, it's partially let down by the nagging formulaic undertone.

The wave of momentum Imminence has been riding on in recent years, it’s easy to suggest ‘The Black’ arrives with a weight of potential. Having carved out a following with their somewhat unique brand of metalcore, their fifth album aims to see them knock on the door of the genre’s upper echelons. From the outset of ‘Come Hell or High Water’, there’s a bold intent. Striking guitar chords complement the gradual build, shadowing the foreboding descent into darkness that erupts at its rapid conclusion.

‘Desolation’ quickly maintains the cinematic tone, albeit in a more formulaic execution as metallic blasts and fiery riffs hit hard, and Peter Hanström’s drums penetrate. Conceptually, the opening pair set up the darker tone that threads ‘The Black’ together. ‘Heaven Shall Burn’ is torturous through its frantic blast beat and Eddie Berg’s screams and growls. However, it’s at this stage that I realised Imminence may never escape the shadow of those who have come before them.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of fire in the quintet’s collective bellies. Tracks such as ‘Beyond The Pale’, and later, ‘The Call of the Void’, sound huge yet are reminiscent of Architects and dozens of other imitators who have ventured into string-accompanied metalcore. Questionably it is an unavoidable trope of modern-day metalcore. One that Imminence can’t avoid due to the violin-playing talents of Berg.

However, this is occasionally used to their advantage. The rumbling of ‘Come What May’ is complemented by a luscious violin solo, bringing a sense of drama to proceedings. Likewise ‘Continuum’ succulently sweeps, countering the steely density of guitarists Harald Barrett and Alex Arnoldsson, and bassist Christian Höijer.

The final trio of tracks is where Imminence come into their own. ‘L’appel du Vide’ is the first of two instrumental tracks that sandwich the titular track. Plucky guitars and synth keys create a slow-burning atmosphere, pulling back as Berg’s harmonic voice and Hanström’s distant drums serve as a momentary break from the darkness. As ‘The Black’ emerges, Berg’s words are reflective, marred in mental anguish and despair. Its verses are gracefully executed. Whereas its conclusion brilliantly illustrates Imminence‘s ability to blend tranquil orchestration with dense metalcore. The epilogue of ‘Le Noir’ cements the finality of ‘The Black’s story. Beautiful strings bring a sense of comfort to the hellish experience.

When Imminence delivers, they soar. Throughout ‘The Black’ they can provide thick, heavy moments that sees them on par with some of their contemporaries. While Berg’s violin contributions can, at times, come a little predictable, they add to the scope that Imminence can pull off. Whether or not it provides them with the key to unlock the door to Metalcore’s elite remains unanswered. While ‘The Black’ has plenty of strengths, it’s partially let down by the nagging formulaic undertone.

‘The Black’ by Imminence is released on April 12th, 2024.

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