Current 93 ‎– Imperium

Label:
Durtro ‎– DURTRO 008CD
Format:
CD, Album, Reissue, Digipak
Country:
Released:
Genre:
Style:

Tracklist

1 Imperium I 6:07
2 Imperium II 5:46
3 Imperium III 7:01
4 Imperium IV 3:15
5 Time Stands Still 2:57
6 Be 0:53
7 Locust 9:47
8 Or 9:21
9 Alone 7:35

Companies, etc.

Notes

Originally released on LP in 1987.

Track 5 is not on the original release.

Barcode and Other Identifiers

  • Barcode: 5021958506029
  • Matrix / Runout: WORLDSERPENT DURTRO008CD 01 5
  • Mastering SID Code: IFPI L135
  • Mould SID Code: IFPI 0449

Other Versions (5 of 10) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
MAL 777, Mal 777 Current 93 Imperium(LP, 1st) Maldoror, Maldoror MAL 777, Mal 777 UK 1987 Sell This Version
MAL 777 Current 93 Imperium(LP, TP, W/Lbl) Maldoror MAL 777 UK 1987 Sell This Version
DURTRO 008 Current 93 Imperium(LP, Album, MP, TP, W/Lbl, Art) Durtro DURTRO 008 UK 2002 Sell This Version
DURTRO 008 Current 93 Imperium(LP, Album, Ltd, RM) Durtro DURTRO 008 UK 2002 Sell This Version
DSM 3371-06 Каррент 93* Империум(CD, Album, RE) Союз, Durtro DSM 3371-06 Russia 2006 Sell This Version

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bullfinchart

bullfinchart

May 30, 2016
It's not always easy to place the late '80s Current 93 albums into some sort of chronological narrative, although I think it's generally accepted that Imperium was the first step away from the group's earlier sound. Interestingly one of the very few C93 releases not to feature Steven Stapleton. I would imagine Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson was in charge of the sound design on the album.

The first side of the album consists of the four part 'Imperium' suite. The elements are similar to earlier albums, but the execution entirely different. The four pieces consist of slowed down traditional music, minimal electronics, and Tibet's vocal on top. The early harsh sound is gone entirely, however, replaced with a mournful ambience, and tenderly sung and whispered poetry from David Tibet: these are notably 'songs', as opposed to soundscapes. Tibet, histrionic as ever, found himself ill, and concluded he was going to die. The 'Imperium' suite finds him lamenting on the inevitability of death, and making some kind of peace with the Christianity his lyrics had once questioned more harshly (the previous single 'Happy Birthday Pigface Christus' a notable example).

The second side of the album is a different matter entirely, with Tibet bringing in Douglas P and Tony Wakeford of Death in June, and Coil's John Balance, to form a kind of post-punk / post-industrial hybrid that probably had some crossover potential at the time. Sadly, three of the four songs are simply far, far too long for their own good, extended to fit David's lyrics, but musically too repetitive to provide enjoyable listening. As the tracks all head towards six, seven, eight minutes, the patience wears very thin. The one exception is 'Be', a forgettable acoustic piece only remarkable for it being a very early example of the folk sound the Current 93 name would become most famous for in the coming years.

Imperium is very much an album of two sides: one a fascinating and beautiful evolution of the group's sound; the other an interesting curio, but also a creative dead end, and one that would not be explored further in the future.