With an opening track named ‘Rotted Futures’, masked avantgarde metal warriors Imperial Triumphant were never going to give us an easy ride. Indeed, second track ‘Excelsior’ gouges and scrapes out such low growls it’s likely to measure on the Richter scale. Throughout ‘Alphaville’ the vocals are abrasive, the guitars are lush and the whole damn effect is unsettling, challenging, and perfectly crafted, so that it’s difficult to grasp without giving the record – the band’s 4th studio album – the wholehearted attention it deserves. Backing music it aint. Skilled musicianship, on the other hand, it is.