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Unabashed early Carcass worship here from this sick and twisted California band. Don't misunderstand me: this isn't Carcass influenced metal in the vein of General Surgery or a million other bands, this is almost a virtual copy of the Carcass present on the first two albums, Reek of Putrefaction and Symphonies of Sickness, a clone down to the tiniest particulars. The similarities are obvious, overstated, and completely intentional. I guess Impaled just figured that Carcass was no longer in action, so why waste a fertile concept? Almost all the Carcass fetishes or accoutrements are here: the cover art, movie/documentary sampling, the lyrics and medical terminology, the naming of solos, the high and low vocals (the vocals sound, for the most part, exactly like Carcass), the drum sound (are those Ken's cymbals?), the group photo where they are dressed as pathologists, etc. It's all here.
When it comes to the music, however, there are differences. While constantly referencing Carcass, these guys never just slip down into rote memorization and regurgitation - they have their own style, and you can hear it shining through the influences (this level of 'influence' really should be given another name - is there a level between cloning and 'influence'?) at times very clearly. The guitar music, especially, rises above the motives of the other musicians and carves out something original all on its own. This isn't your garden variety goregrind or grindcore, at times the music reaches a surprising level of sophistication that this subgenre of death metal hasn't seen in quite some time. However, I can't help but wonder if they will try to come up with a more original concept the next time. Is early Carcass so old and outdated that we can now resurrect it safely for the new generation of death metal fans? Does this band plan to continue under Carcass' wing? On their own, and without the obvious 'influence', I think this band could make quite a place for themselves in the death metal scene. Then again, by taking away their biggest inspiration you could doom them to sterility and confusion. It's impossible to tell. I will say, though, that out of all the bands over the years that have tried to mimic Carcass's stunning originality and vision (and there are so many of them, enough to make you ill), Impaled have definitely come the closest. I think you could safely substitute this album in a novice's Carcass collection and he wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Something tells me Impaled would be really proud of that.
What people first say about this album is that it has a brutal sound to it. Well yeah, but Impaled isn't so much a brutal death metal band as it is a death/grind band in the vein of Carcass (no duh). Either way, it works out nicely despite the fact that the guitars don't sound as perfect as on Mondo Medicale, but I digress...
At this point in time Leon del Muerte was with Impaled and his mid-range vocal presence is much more adapted to the brutal sound that this album offers. Granted, Ross Sewage's vocal presence is minimal, with the reins being held by Sean McGrath (high vocals) and Leon del Muerte for about 90% of the album. Despite this lack of Ross's low guttural vocals, the songs fucking rip. Similar in style to Heartwork-era Carcass, the cd is flooded with a healthy balance of melody and aggression (in that the only time melody is present is during one of the wicked solos). Raul Varela's drumming is pretty good, although not altogether innovative for a death/grind band, and he remains one of my favorite drum idols...even though the drums are garbled at times in this album due to the production...
As for the songs, they range from beauty and love that only a man can share with a woman (Torn from the tomb for your lustful desire ;My fouled viscera are what you admire ;An unholy union on a funeral pyre ;A caseated carcass really lights your fire) to the simplicity of innocence that follows delightful children (Your skivvies besmirched with foetid mung ;Liquid viscous, peanut dotted dung ;Your rectum protrudes from its now swollen rim ;Your diapers are filled to the brim) to the virtue of religion (Bowing to the porcelain god ;Plunge my face in the steaming mess ;Bobbing for stinky turds ;Septic waters filled with cess). To all the Black Metal and Melodic Swedish fuckwads start taking notes. The lyrics are very serious (obviously) and I am certain as you are reading this, they are eating intestines. Also, have you heard of that new thing called Sarcasm?
Sure, some of the riffs could have been written by Carcass, but so fucking what, they sound good and they are damn catchy. Check out the mosh riff in the middle of Trocar (at about 2:03). It owns you and you will mosh. My favorite singular riff of the whole album. Back To The Grave is also another personal favorite, with each of its portions kicking ass and forcing you to bang your head as if up from the dead.
When it is all said and done, this cd fucking rocks, with no real weak songs on here. Get it.