Only Dark Hearts Survive

Imagika are a thrash metal band from the U.S.A. formed in 1993 by original members Steve Rice (guitar) and Henry Moreno (drums), releasing their self titled debut album in 1995. Dogged by a number of line-up changes over the coming years, the band released two more albums, 'Worship' (1998) and 'And So It Burns' (2000). 'Devils On Both Sides' released in 2005 featured a new singer Norman Skinner. The band went on to release three more albums over the next five years, 'My Bloodied Wings' (2006), 'Feast For The Hated' (2008), and 'Portrait Of A Hanged Man' (2010), after which, original member Henry Moreno decided to leave the band. It was also around this time that singer Norman Skinner announced he was leaving to pursue other musical projects. And at the end of the year sole founding member Steve Rice made the decision to put Imagika to rest, and he went on to form Kill Ritual.    
Nine years later, and the members of Imagika got together, decided to reform the band and release a new album - and at the end of 2019, 'Only Dark Hearts Survive' was released, an incredible twenty four years after their debut... Imagika have always stood at the melodic end of the thrash metal genre, and the new album is no different. Eight songs across thirty six blazing minutes, will have you immediately head banging and punching the air in delight. And from the moment album opener 'Where Our Demons Dwell' kicks into life, that's exactly what you'll be doing. High energy, mid tempo melodic thrash is what 'Where Our Demons Dwell' delivers. And that is the Imagika signature sound. 'Cast Into Damnation' is a tad quicker than the opening song, and also a tad heavier. A throaty, gravelly vocal performance adds to the mild aggressive streak that has taken over the album, as 'Cast Into Damnation' steams ahead...    
...and the steam continues puffing hard, with 'Prisoners Of Fate' adopting a more jack hammer style riffing and a mid tempo pace. However, the heaviness remains, and shows no sign of going away either, 'Suffocate On Hate' hammering its way into sight and pounding the hell out of the airways. Sinister and menacing 'Suffocate On Hate' is as scary as the title suggests, And, without a warning, the album explodes into life and runs off at a searing pace. The high velocity, full tilt thrash metal savagery is let loose with the thundering 'The Spiteful One'. The head bangers of the world are gonna lap this one up and head bang so furiously, there is imminent danger of heads detaching from necks. Yes, guys and girls, it's that head bangingly ferocious...    
...a ferociousness that does subside, for the hugely melodic and more "heavy metal" than "thrash metal" 'The Faceless Rise' to take front and centre. With its buzz sounding guitars nodding its head toward the glorious NWOBHM, 'The Faceless Rise' continues the albums crusade of infectious and likeable thrash metal. And to be honest, I was won over half way through the opening song. Big riffing 'Firefight' is a thunderstorm of epic proportions. That guitar sound - wow! It's NWOBHM meets thrash, it's the classic sound of heavy metal making love to the abrasive sound of thrash metal. Such excitement, such exhilaration, am almost out of breath before the song ends. Thank the Lord there's only one song left on the album or I'd never have made to the last hurrah. The title song 'Only Dark Hearts Survive' ends the album in a cacophony of all things great about thrash metal. It is a menacing, aggression filled full on and in your face savage barrage, that is gonna leave you wanting more, so much more.    
Overall, heavy and melodic, mid tempo'd yet energetic, this is an album of infectious and addictive thrash. Definitely one to add to your collection.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV