Imperial - This Grave Is My Poem (Cover Artwork)


This Grave Is My Poem (2005)


I have to admit: when I first picked up this CD, I smirked at some of the song titles. "'In Ashes I Leave,' 'Pain and Perfection,' 'Wipe Away the Tears,'" I read bemusedly to a group of friends who had gathered around to see the latest CDs I received to review. "'This Grave Is My Poem,'" I said, holding my hand to my heart; "Oh, poor emo boys."

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Imperial isn't anything like what I expected. For starters, they're not an emo band; they're a metalcore band. Whoops.

Lyrically, the music is simple: full of one-liners you would expect to find carved into a high school desk by a brooding loner; "in ashes I leave to find my peace," and "trapped here without a hope" are typical snippets. But this band isn't about lyrics; reading the liner notes will quickly tell you that, as well as be an exercise in futility if you hope to find some deep hidden meaning in the hard-to-decipher delivery. It's just not there.

What makes Imperial special – or at least the quality they are hoping to use to garner an audience -- is that their two vocalists (Brandon Pangle and Dale Dupee ) have "a dual vocal attack [that] sets them apart from most of their peers." However, and sadly, they clash. The hardcore and heavy vocalist is overused, much to the detriment of the songs. You'll find yourself tiring of it, clutching on to the short moments where the vocalist with a hint of melody is present. Ultimately, they are too few and far between, which makes Imperial's This Grave Is my Poem the kind of CD that will quickly grate on your nerves.

Imperial is selling a particular brand of feeling – of emotion – and when a band focuses on vocal delivery, not melodies, that takes the listener to the proverbial place inside their heads, they have to be strong, compelling, and say something relevant. In the case of this CD, that element is largely missing.