Kimaera – Imperivm
A few weeks prior to the release of this, Kimaera’s fourth studio album “Imperivm,” the band received devastating news. Founder and front man Jp Haddad had passed away. He was an early pioneer of the Lebanese metal scene and will be fondly remembered and sadly missed by many. The rest of the band have vowed to make him proud and have announced a tribute event. This will coincide with the album release on 15th March 2022, which is the Ides of March.
The band hail from one of the most war-torn countries in the world, but they have persevered. This new album that comes nine years after its predecessor is themed on Roman history. It was a personal passion of Jp Haddad and reflects his love of the subject. Some of the Middle Eastern ethnic instruments used on the album also have their origins in ancient Rome.
No matter which styles the material morphs into, and it moves between many seamlessly, one thing adds quality. It is the Middle Eastern element that is the magical ingredient. This is apparent straight away in the grand opening to ‘De Amare Et Bellvm.’ It stays there throughout behind the growls, female vocals, power chords and wonderful orchestration.
This is followed by ‘The Die is Cast’ which is a song originally released in 2017 as a single track. It has obviously been deemed to be worthy and suitable enough to be included and given a new airing. I would say it stands up against the newer songs. One of the standout tracks among the new ones is ‘VVV’. Being one of the longer numbers it allows the full gamut of tools at their disposal to be employed. The styles range from death metal to burlesque and a glorious mixture of the two.
The track ‘The Ides of March’ is also released as a lyric video on, you guessed it, 15th March. I’ve seen the band classed as death metal but that’s not strictly accurate. There’s more to them than that, so melodic death metal might be closer. Parts of this track do however fit their epithet but there are quieter keyboard sections and fantastic guitar solos.
Kimaera – The Ides of March (click here if the video does not play)
There are parts of the material that do invoke the feel of the ancient Roman Empire. The stirring intro to ‘Imperator’ is one such example. This is a track with contrasting sections. The intro builds into a heavier bombardment and then drops to a gentle keyboard part. This then merges into sumptuous guitar solos before returning to heavier realms. A little earworm runs through ‘Vi Divina’, and is only absent for some of the thrashy middle section. It returns toward the end where it is weaved into the lead breaks.
Concerning stand out tracks, the absolute winner is ‘Capvt Mvndi’. It’s my favourite and I have it on good authority that it’s also the band’s favourite. It is the track that they spent most time producing. Being the longest track on the album gives it time to move though many styles. It also features some of those Middle Eastern ethnic instruments mentioned earlier.
There’s also a bonus track called ‘Ya Beirut’ which in 2020 got the band into hot water. Having recorded the song and made a video for it which got a mass of views, things turned ugly. They found themselves embroiled in a lawsuit brought against them by the person who owned the song.
Majida El Roumi Baradhy is a renowned Lebanese soprano. Her office condemned the band for exploiting her song commercially by filming a video that was broadcasted on Lebanese TV stations without permission. It was recorded as a non-profit cover and a tribute to Beirut after the terrible blast on August 4th. The video was taken down from YouTube, but there is a documentary video available telling the full story. It features members of the band and guests and is a chance to see Jean-Pierre Haddad in comparatively happier days.
Kimaera – Ya Beirut | The Aftermath (click here if the video does not play)
It never ceases to amaze me how many great bands there are out there and some in unlikely places. After all the setbacks they have still managed to produce a quality album. The like of which is a much-needed lifter of spirits in these depressing times.
I – De Amare Et Bellvm
II – The Die is Cast
III – VVV
IV – The Ides of March
V – Imperator
VI – Vi Divina
VII – Capvt Mvndi
VIII – Ya Beirut (Bonus track)