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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 Is early Carcass so old and outdated that we can now resurrect it safely for the new generation of death metal fans?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.