Imperiled Future, the new split by Tuomas Tahvanainen’s Cold Prophet and Maxime Taccardi’s K.F.R, is a rare masterpiece. I am extremely-extremely excited that this ravishing plague has finally been unleashed upon listeners via The Sinister Initiative — the label of Tahvanainen, Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth, and ex-Enochian Crescent’s Mathias Palmroth. When I listen to Imperiled Future, I understand that a lot of the artists who seem to be churning out top-notch material are lacking the quality that defines true genius. Imperiled Futuredrags listeners into a new kind of blissfully torturous darkness, a void so terrifying that it makes almost all else seem like a giant yawn.

Even as a huge fan of both Cold Prophet and Taccardi, Imperiled Future managed to amaze me with its constant flow of surprises. Yes, Cold Prophet’s 2022 self-titled debut set the bar remarkably high. It represents a truly miraculous must-hear that I urge all readers to experience. After hearing Imperiled Future, no one will doubt that Cold Prophet’s sophomore record, Intentio Exitus, which is scheduled for a November release, will prove yet another jaw-dropping victory. Meanwhile, the ridiculously prolific Taccardi never ceases to astound audiences with phenomenal content created under various project banners. K.F.R, however, may be described as his main band. Taccardi has acquired a huge following not only for his music, but also for his paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, books, etc. Indeed, both Tahvanainen and Taccardi are highly sought-after and brilliant visual artists, whose creations have graced countless album covers and much more. Of course, Tahvanainen’s artwork for Imperiled Future is stunning.

Imperiled Future contains four wonderfully crafted compositions, divinely disturbing as they are gorgeous. All but one of the songs lasts over 11 minutes. The visceral effect of these inescapable, never-ending cinematic nightmares is extraordinary. The music, with its totally gripping atmospheres, awakens an endless multitude of images so ghastly that they compel you to find ways to terminate your existence in order to avoid tomorrow. Given Tahvanainen and Taccardi’s aforementioned calling as visual artists, it is a bit easier to understand their shocking ability to sonically paint the most lurid visions. These great seers have crafted an EP far ahead of its age. Thus, the experimental timeless excellence of Imperiled Future should prove a permanent menace to listeners.

Cold Prophet’s side of Imperiled Future was recorded from 2022-2024. As Cold Prophet and Intentio Exitus, Cold Prophet’s contributions here were mastered by the legendary Andy La Rocque of King Diamond fame. Imperiled Future begins with Cold Prophet’s radioactive “Bottomless Graves.” As the rest of the disc, this opus demands the activity of a lot of the same muscles from listeners as classical music. Industrial, alien, and ethereal tones mingle within the context of this flawlessly balanced song that seems to boast a, dare I say, balletic grace, making its anti-human terror campaign seem all the more evil. None of the elements are overdone, and every creak, rattle, scream, and audio sample in this nuanced number feels endowed with malignant purpose.

“Endtime Protocol,” Cold Prophet’s bewitching and darkly magical second track gloriously stands as one of the very worst sonic atrocities I have ever witnessed in my wretched life. It crackles, drips, and rings with malevolence. Bells toll, flies gather, and carnivorous birds descend. This all places a wealth of cannibalistic food for paranoid thought before the mind’s bleeding eye. Beware: “Endtime Protocol” may trigger flashbacks of flesh-tearing violence, brutal bludgeonings, stabbings, and more. It soothes and rapes the auditory canals with surgical precision and confidence. The ideal touch of techno ear candy helps ensure that this unpredictable song truly infects its victims. In other words, no, “Endtime Protocol” not only works its way under your skin in an unforgettable manner by means of the knife and syringe, it also threatens to give you dancing fever.

K.F.R’s two offerings were recorded in 2023 and feature Déhà on drums. K.F.R’s first track on the EP is an alternative version of “The Serpent’s Kiss,” the original appears on the band’s magnum opus, Pain/Ter. On the Pain/Ter version, Taccardi handles vocals on the first half of the song and then Kvarforth steps in for the second half. (Readers should know that Taccardi painted the artwork for Shining’s self-titled eleventh album, and he will continue to collaborate with the beloved Swedish powerhouse.) Here, Kvarforth, a superhuman of supernatural charisma, provides the vocals entirely on his own. He does so in both Swedish and English. The dramatic and thoroughly disturbing performance of this devilish spiritual father is unlike anything we have heard from him before. Taccardi’s composition itself is clearly outstanding. The new vocals give us the opportunity to appreciate it in a new light. I send all of my respect to Taccardi for making this song.

“Silent Screams,” which was tracked at the same time as Pain/Ter, is one of the very most psychopathic creations I have heard during my time on this planet. I doubt that such a perfect soundtrack to a mass murder has ever existed. A song this twisted should never be as beautiful as this dreamlike, and sometimes adrenaline-fueling, trip proves. “Silent Screams” opens with sounds reminiscent of a foghorn, but these noises jolt us with electric-chair shocks. Taccardi wholly captivates listeners with maximally demented vocalizations, which sometimes morph into demonic growls and bestial snarls. They are outrageously convincing. As bullets pelt our weak flesh in a hailstorm of madness, the mere mortals among Imperiled Future’s audiences will surely duck and cover themselves out of dog-like instinct while the wolves will greet the oncoming danger with glee. However, even if it sparks joy at times, “Silent Screams” and the EP as a whole, should nonetheless erode the bravery of even the most arrogant listeners.

In conclusion, I truly love this horrifically rewarding EP. The radically inventive Tahvanainen and Taccardi couldn’t complement one another more perfectly, and that has resulted in too much of an amazing/dreadful thing. Although the word “intimidating” has always inevitably escaped the limits of my comprehension, perhaps Imperiled Future has taught me its meaning. If this monumental achievement doesn’t make listeners burn the world, I can only hope that, at the very least, it will inspire them to incinerate the inferior offerings in their music collections.

Rating: Off the Charts

(Order Imperiled Future here.)