Review: Imha Tarikat – Sternenberster

Imha Tarikat are a two-man black metal band from Germany that released their first full length Kara Ihlas in 2019 and now follow it up with Sternenberster. Imha Tarikat is Turkish for “sect of destruction”, and that neatly sums up the sound of the band around mastermind and multi-instrumentalist Ruhsuz Cellât: lots of aggressive energy, and a hint of occultism.

Disregarding the somewhat unnecessary tagged-on piano track Outro (Cosmos Dissolving), this record is a relatively short and snappy one: 7 songs that come up to a total of around 42 minutes. Imha Tarikat play a style of black metal reminiscent of the second wave of Norwegian black metal, but spice it up with some dark melodies of the Swedish kind, punk rock attitude and as previously mentioned, a pinch of the occult. It was this occult aspect and the general sound that somewhat reminded me a bit of Vamacara, another two-man black metal outfit from Germany (that I shamelessly namedrop here as they are brilliant). While Vamacara represent the magic shrouded in mystery that lurks in the temple and takes you on a drug-infused journey through the cosmos, Imha Tarikat are akin to the temple bouncer that clubs you unconscious and takes your money. Not saying that one is better than the other, but there is a clear distinction in regards to the approach.

Imha Tarikat are direct, almost blunt, but damn it, they are also efficient. Ruhsuz Cellât produces heavy riffs that invite headbanging, effective melodies that stick with you, and has a good feeling for songwriting. His vocal skills are the most striking of his many talents though, I like his dry raspy shouts, and he transports quite a lot of emotions. P:W (Philipp Wende) delivers a furious onslaught on the drums, and the two of them together keep the energy up all the way through. Sternenberster is German for “burster of stars”, and the name fits to this cosmic outburst of energies of an album. If there is one thing to criticize, it would be that – not unlike a supernova – there is not a lot of dynamic here. While there are some breaks and short acoustic interludes here (that are all very nice actually), they never actually lead into a different kind of riffing or tempo. There’s fast aggressive blasting, then maybe a break, and then there’s fast aggressive blasting again. While it is commendable that Imha Tarikat can keep the energy up without running out of steam, the record looses some incentive for repeat listens after a while.

This minor complaint (and the aforementioned needless outro that does not add anything to the overall experience) aside, Sternenberster is a brutal storm of black metal energy and can be highly recommended to any fans of the genre.

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