Kenny Grohowski, Steve Blanco and Zachary Ezrin are New York City. From their brimming musical confidence to their band’s — Imperial Triumphant — out/inward projection, there’s no doubt the trio are the product of the Empire City. While most think of New York City for its tourist traps, its famous Metropolitan New York English accent and how it’s remained the focal point for American capitalism since 1817 (OK, that’s arguable), there’s something else afoot in the Big Apple. Buildings are symbolic of many things, but chiefly among them are power, opulence and masculinity.
These things directly informed Imperial Triumphant’s new album, Vile Luxury. Whether it was the Art Deco madness of the General Electric Building, the transcendence of the Queensboro Bridge or the ego of Walter P. Chrysler — the Chrysler Building is a personification of industrialist prestige and power — the New York City-based trio have channeled the spirit of these symbols into their avant-garde black metal. So, Decibel, being the clever gents we are, decided to prompt Kenny, Steve and Zachary into thinking heavily about the ornate steel and concrete phalli that occupy New York City’s skyline.
Read on. Imperial Triumphant are about to turn New York City iconic structures — the vilest of luxuries — on their proverbial heads.
5. 432 Park Avenue Condominiums.
A huge failure of decadence. You can see from anywhere outside the city. It’s the tallest residential building in New York. It’s built so that every 10 floors is open for wind to go through it. Half of it is, we’re sure, owned by Russians, Chinese, Saudis. Actually, they just own it. They only “live” there like two days of the year. The top floor is always dark, vacant. You never see lights on there. Truly, a building built for people to invest in. Nobody lives in that shit. It’s sole purpose is property ownership in New York City, like some rich Russian guy, who can brag about it to his cronies or whatever. That building is cool looking — it’s so fucking tall — but where all other buildings in the city are illuminated, 432 Park is this huge dark pillar on the skyline. It’s a Jenga piece that’s pure evil.
4. Chrysler Building.
Built in 1929 by William Van Alen, it is the single most powerful structure/symbol in New York City, as far as decadence and opulence goes. The entire top is made entirely of one piece stainless steel. There used to be a bar in there, where the owner of Chrysler could hang out with his friends and do crazy/sleazy shit. It’s so fucking dark, actually. The secrets that are buried within that structure are unreal. There’s an ominous presence to it. The gargoyles can be seen from so far away. On top of all that, just like New York, where there’s extremes of good and bad, it’s also a beautiful building.
3. Grand Central Station.
Mercury is right out front, looking down on everyone. A lot of people don’t know his but Mercury is the god of financial gain. There’s no accident that he’s there front and center, atop Grand Central Station. Mercury is where the word ‘mercantilism’ comes from. The clock is right there, too. So, here’s Mercury, keeping time, time is money, looking down on everyone. Structurally, it’s beautiful. Inside, no matter how many people are in there, it’s still quiet. The public space is gigantic. You never feel closed in at Grand Central. Also, Grand Central happens to be right next to the Chrysler building. And it’s not too far from General Electric. I’d imagine, thinking about it now, that these three buildings would form a triangle. There’s a lot of crazy triangles in New York, the World Trade Center, which goes straight up the Citibank Building, the one with the sloped roof. Then, front there it’s directly across from City Tower. That’s one of the more well-known isosceles triangles in New York.
2. Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge (aka Queensboro or 59th Street Bridge).
I love the Queensboro Bridge. It looks like a monster, an evil monster. It goes from Queens across the East River, and then descends into Midtown. You really don’t see that in any other city. The bridge is so massive. If you look carefully you can see a lot symbols strategically places along the bridge. Meaningful shit, really. There’s keystones. Who knows where it’s coming from? Sumeria, maybe? That’s definitely structure I can think of that fits the parameters here. It’s not a skyscraper or building, but it’s fucking cool all the way through.
1. General Electric Building.
General Electric Building. 570 Lexington. So phenomenal. General Electric owns it. It’s a very dark building. The top of it is terrifying. It was built as a homage to power and electricity. The top is just crazy. It’s so decadent, but you can’t really even see it from the ground. It’s built like a homage to the gods. So epic! But if you look around the bottom you’ll see lightning bolts, fists, symbols of aggression, symbols of masculinity. There’s also pieces of Egyptian art in there too. It’s very esoteric. The powers of ancient cultures and putting them on a gigantic building for all to see. We’re obsessed with this building.
** Imperial Triumphant’s new album, Vile Luxury, is out now on Gilead Media. Click HERE for digipak CD or 2XLP. Order now or find yourself not imbibing in the vilest luxury from the darkest towers of New York City.
For continued reading, check out Imperial Triumphant’s Top 5 Jazz Albums. Click HERE.