Implore released their last two albums on Century Media and earned a reputation as the closest thing to a Teutonic mathcore band or even Germany’s answer to Converge. They had current Strigoi sticksman, Guido Montanarini, on the drum stool for 2017’s Subjugate LP but keep the same line-up from 2019’s Alienated Despair for album number four. Britain’s underground kingmaker, Sammy Urwin (Employed to Serve), saw an opportunity to sign the band to his Church Road Records label, and you can understand why he fought hard to bring them into his camp – this is a murderous piece of audio shrapnel in the hands of four men you’d hate to encounter in a road rage incident.
How to sustain a relentless onslaught of aggression and psychopathic euphoria seems to be the objective here from start to finish. Opener, ‘Prior Void’, starts with a surprise mono recording of thumping punk beats before the thunderous violence erupts like a company of Cossacks raiding the port cities of the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth century. The guitarists cover their fretboards with puzzling chord choices among the thick palm-muted rhythms but never upstage the ferocious hardcore screams. This unhinged spleen-rupturing microphone assault of the title track is just as devastating in its impact. Here, the down-picking sounds like it will snap the guitar strings at any moment as the rhythms misalign from the drum patterns in glorious imperfection. Your mind will conjure images of glass panes cracking under the pressure of a hostile Siberian freeze. You can hear Converge, but Terror Cell, or even London debutants, Burner, are a better comparison for 2022. A nerve-shredding adrenaline will overmaster you as you try to rationalise the music from your armchair.
The return of Norma Jean and rebirth of Vein.fm makes 2022 a good year for mathcore, but Implore are a blackened death metal enigma as much as a hardcore band. ‘Archetype’ throbs with the intensity of grindcore, the grit of d-beat punk, and the technicality of death metal in less than three minutes. Forget about the tempo, the temperature is just as likely to annihilate you during the frenzied outburst of violence on ‘Masochistic Tendencies’ and ‘Sun Deprived’. The jagged groove in the latter composition is the closest they come to a shoulder-swaying movement before they subjugate you with a flurry of blast beats. By track seven, you need a breather. ‘Failure Through Self-Preservation’ would be a standout song earlier in the listening experience, but it feels too oppressive here.
The Burden of Existence lacks the essential experimental track to allow a refuelling of the mind. It also denies Implore a serious candidacy for album of the year. The three-quarter mark would leave you jaded if not for the visceral post-metal triumph of ‘Love Will Gradually Perish’. This one delivers the emotional despair with a slower maelstrom of hissing guitars and eye-bulging fury as if warming up for a Cult of Luna support tour. A couple more tracks like this would be most welcome as a panacea for the vertigo they produce after the blistering offensive on side A.
There’s a lot to admire here, and you can’t accuse of Implore of producing a safe record when the intensity levels are so psychopathic in their determination to destroy everything in sight. This is a mean piece of metallic hardcore draped in the misanthropy of blackened death metal. Few bands could keep this up for an entire album, but maybe that’s why this LP seems like a sprint rather than a marathon. You might feel invincible at the start, but you know the last hurdle will test your endurance to the limit.
Release Date: 28/10/2022
Record Label: Church Road Records
Standout tracks: The Burden of Existence; Accept the Loss; Love Will Gradually Perish
Suggested Further Listening: Burner – A Vision of the End EP (2022), Terror Cell – Caustic Light (2022), Cleaver – No More Must Crawl (2022)