March 8, 2022

A quick check shows that there are at least two bands called Custard; one is an indie rock band from Australia and the one here for review is a power metal band from Germany which formed in 1987 with Imperium Rapax being the band’s latest album and number seven in a fine list of metal releases.

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the room. Someone somewhere must have actually said “hey guys, Custard would be a great name for a new band” to which, presumably, the rest must have agreed. Maybe, at some stage, someone should have done a little research as, in the UK and Australia too for that matter, custard is a traditional British dessert sauce made with egg yolks, sugar and milk and then flavoured with vanilla, truly delicious. I know it’s just a name but we have this mighty power metal band trading in macho images and performing songs of battles, heroic tales and deeds of derring-do but all I can think of is a delicious dessert! Given that the band is now most unlikely to consider a name change then we must move on and actually talk about the group and the new record.

The band initially released a demo and an EP before the debut, Kingdoms Of Your Life, came out on 1999 with For My King following rapidly in 2000 but then the band seemed to settle into a habit of letting years go by before releasing the next album and there is a gap of four years between the new album and 2017’s A Realm Of Tales. There has been a fair few changes in the band over the years too and now only the drummer, Chris Klapper, remains from the original line-up although the band has stabilised recently and the same team has now brought us the last two albums. We have Oliver Strasser on vocals, guitarists Carsten Reichart and Stefan Absorber, Markus Berghammer on bass with guests Marta Gabriel and Athanasios Karapanos on vocals with Marinos Tokas on orchestral parts and intros.

The album is very much symphonic power metal as the band brings us tales from The Roman Empire so expect further tales of blood, battle, death and glory complete with stirring battle horns and mournful post battle wails of agony. All this combined with the usual thunderous double bass drums, pounding bass, soaring vocals and screaming guitars and all gloriously delivered with passion and skill. Well written songs, perfectly delivered with stirring orchestration make Imperium Rapax a thoroughly enjoyable and absorbing power metal album from a band very much in Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Blind Guardian and Rage territory.

In conclusion, forget the name and revel in what is a wonderfully over the top power metal extravaganza.

Imperium Rapax

  1. Imperium Rapax (1:48)
  2. Children Of The Wolf (4:46)
  3. In Umbra Aquilae (0:48)
  4. Res Publica (5:01)
  5. Blessed By Baal (4:21)
  6. Blood And Sand (3:29)
  7. The First Emporer (5:24
  8. Gloria Aegypti (0:48)
  9. The Goddess Of Magic And Death (4:36)
  10. Cornua Mortis (0:49)
  11. Furor Teutonicus (4:39)
  12. Ode To The Flames (5:12)
  13. Morituri Te Salutant (4:12)
  14. Quo Vadis (5:38)