The opening track of Imbroglio's Declared Self Hatred starts with slow, menacing chords that sound like they're being strummed on a guitar strung with bridge cables. This only lasts for a few seconds before the band kicks in at full volume with a scream of pure rage and despair. Everything sounds like it's been distorted, recorded, and then distorted again, just for good measure. The first lyric in human language is, "My flesh is killing my soul." All of this gives you a pretty good idea of the slab of grinding, filthy sludge that you're going to get from this album.
One of the most impressive things about this album is that while the band sticks to a fairly limited sonic palette and more or less one emotion, the music is still varied enough to hold your interest. The second track, "Sharp Teeth," picks up the pace from the lumbering tempo of the opener and mixes in some jangly guitar chords that would fit in perfectly with a 90s alternative rock band, if that band had become possessed by a demon. The band quickly shifts into a straightforward, stomping rhythm with vocals that sound like a drill sergeant barking commands. The song then changes up again to a guitar riff that sounds like a siren, played over lurching bass and drums. This all happens during the first two minutes of the song. The description makes it sound like a mess, but somehow it all hangs together.
We do get to catch our breath sometimes with quieter interludes. They can be a welcome break from the almost-overwhelming heaviness, but if I had one complaint about this album, it's that some of these stop the momentum of the album. For example, "Everything Spliced" is a two-minute instrumental with guitar far in the background behind high-pitched whirling sounds. It’s eerie, but the track never really goes anywhere. Luckily, this a minor flaw in an otherwise very solid album.
Sadly for us, Imbroglio announced that they were breaking up the day before the album released, but Declared Self Hatred is a hell of a swansong.
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