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Imperator—The Time before Time (1991)

Imperator—The Time Before Time (1997)

Imperator—The Time Before Time (1997)


Recorded on 4-9 December 1990 and 13-14 January 1991 at CCS Studio Warsaw. Mixed on 21-22 February 1991 by Staszek Bokowy and Imperator. All songs written by Bariel. Produced by Tomasz Grabowski and Robert Grabowski. Released on Pagan Records. (This edition 1997.)


  • Piotr “Bariel” Tomczyk — Vocals and guitar
  • Maciej “Mefisto” Dymitrowski — Bass
  • Karol “Carol” Skwarczewski — Drums


Tracks 1–4 “The Side of the Beginning”, tracks 5–7 “The Side of the End”

  1. Eternal might
  2. Abhorrence
  3. Necronomicon
  4. Persecutor
  5. Defunct dimension
  6. External extinction
  7. Ancient race
  8. Love is the law (love under will) (bonus track)
  9. The rest is silence (bonus track)


The date on this edition says 1997 which rather confused me a little when I started to listen to this album. “Nineteen ninety-seven?!” I exclaimed. “This sounds very retro death metal for 1997.”

Of course, it’s a re-release. The original album, Imperator’s debut and to date only album, dates from 1991 while some of the tracks feature on demos dating back to 1986. That makes much more sense.

This is Polish death metal / thrash metal from the school of Kreator and Hellhammer. And it is really rather good.

It has the mandatory illegible death metal band logo. The CD booklet is printed entirely in black and silver, and contained a six page essay about the history of the band.

It’s years since I’ve heard something as raw and honest as this album. It really took me back to listening to Show no Mercy (Slayer, 1983), Hell Awaits (Slayer, 1984) or Pleasure to Kill (Kreator, 1986). Or even early Voivod. It has the riffs, the screeching, squealing guitar solos, the throaty vocals.

It’s unpredictable but is has integrity. It really feels like this is music that’s coming from the heart. This is music that is a response to life in Poland behind the communist “Iron Curtain”.


Brilliant! This is definitely going on my playlist. A mid- to late-80s death metal gem.

Review score: 96%

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