"We Sail at Dawn" (Pluto/EastWest; 2006)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Both Imperial and their label were completely new to me prior to receiving this disc. “We Sail at Dawn” is Imperial’s full-length debut which follows a debut EP from a few years ago. Imperial play Americanized-melodic death metal infused with hardcore sensibilities. 

My initial impression of Imperial’s “We Sail at Dawn” was that it reminded me of a cross of Darkest Hour crossed with recent In Flames. Further in-depth listening revealed a bit more melodicism than the initial impression left me with. And the songwriting is a bit above the norm for the genre – sometimes it’s just the musical motifs that are different enough and sometimes it’s just the song structures themselves that are a bit forward-thinking.

Imperial are part of the new breed of bands combining the original sound of melodic death metal while keeping the brutality intact and adding their own melodic ideas and American influences. As a consequence “We Sail At Dawn” isn’t necessarily original, but it is a nice take on the genre’s evolution regardless of the genre’s struggles to evolve. Imperial play at a slightly faster pace than most in the genre giving “We Sail at Dawn” a slightly more brutal emphasis.

Imperial feature dual vocalists and frequent, but not overused, emphasis on the shifting dynamics between harsh and clean vocals.

Other more appropriate and current references for Imperial would include Fall of Serenity and God Forbid.

“We Sail at Dawn” was produced by Imperial.

Imperial: Brandon Pangle on vocals, Dale Dupree on vocals, Josh Lightfoot on guitar and keyboards, Erick Crossley on guitar, Zack Fortune on bass, and Justin Crewes on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01 Apr 2024 12:16:14 -0500 .