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Great sport - 87%

Felix 1666, May 11th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1990, 12" vinyl, Capitol Records

Does anybody know why Exodus always have shitty artworks? It began with "Fabulous Disaster" and with regard to the cover of "Blood In Blood Out", there seems to be no end in sight. "Impact Is Imminent" does not represent an exception; guess it's time to describe the music, isn't it? First off, the fourth full-length of Gary Holt's wrecking crew is much more metal than its predecessor. Half-baked fillers like "Low Rider" are unimaginable in the context of this album which does not suffer from any needless cover version. "Impact Is Imminent" is pure thrash.

Right from the beginning, Holt and Hunolt swing the axes if there is no tomorrow. John Tempesta, who has replaced Tom Hunting behind the drums, spares the costs for the fitness studio while maltreating his kit in a furious manner. Exodus are not suspected of choosing a lukewarm approach only because of the fact that the album is released by the company giant EMI / Capitol. With the obstinate behaviour of untouchable fanatics, they use their entire arsenal of thrash weapons. Too bad that the production is a rather harmless weapon. On the one hand, it creates a dense and fairly sinister atmosphere due to its comparatively dull mix. Even "The Lunatic Parade", which provides - in hindsight - the predictable link between "The Toxic Waltz" and "Blacklist", does not show a relatively funny side of the band. On the other hand, the sound lacks of differentiation and clarity. Sharp riffs are usually the feature that shapes thrash albums. But "Impact Is Imminent" follows another strategy and attacks the listener in a clunky yet very vehement manner.

Due to the increased share of thrashing components, Holt and his escorts have the element of surprise on their side. The unexpected brutality of the opening title track is a breathtaking beacon for the audience. Of course, the band does not only focus on sheer velocity, but the number of high speed parts is a clear statement. Apart from the cynical opener, I could list the rapid ending of "Heads They Win (Tails You Lose)" in this context as well as the last two songs of the album. "Changing of the Guard" is one of these two pieces. It touches my Teutonic heart, because its lyrics deal with the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the lyrics are not solely correlated to the reunification of Germany. Ceaucescu, the last dictator of Romania, and his likewise criminal wife are also expressly mentioned. "With their execution, so ends the tyranny / Two bullets from a rifle set the people free" - this sounds easy, but it took much more to change the situation in Europe. However, it has changed and that's the main thing. "Thrash Under Pressure", the closer of the album, does not think about politics. This anthem to the sub genre is just an intensive eruption of high velocity. Well done, although I regret that its playtime of two and a half minutes is too short.

Nevertheless, my personal favourite is not among the fast-paced songs. The riffing of "Only Death Decides" makes this mid-tempo bulldozer to a devastating giant. Don't be irritated by the less rapid approach. It does not mean that Exodus are willing to offer a less violent tune and lines like "Misery, disaster, catastrophe / Exactly how you knew the end would be" underline their intention. The riffs draw the listener into the song in a matter of seconds and confront him with the devastating summary of his useless life. No doubt, this track is a sonic authority. "Within the Walls of Chaos" does not fully achieve the quality level of "Only Death Decides", but its riffs drag across the floor in a hurtful manner. Without question, this track is also impressive due to its epic configuration.

Perhaps it is an exaggeration to say that each and every piece of "Impact is Imminent" develops its unmistakeable facets. They rather stand shoulder to shoulder like uniformed members of a successful sports team during a photo shooting. And just like real athletes, they are bursting with strength. I would have never imagined that such an album could be followed by a lame duck, but "Force of Habit" proved the opposite. Anyway, let's close the cycle. At the beginning of the review, I mentioned the bad covers of Exodus albums, but the back of the CD version takes the bun. It is identical to that of the vinyl edition with the effect that the printed lyrics look like the excrements of a fly that has suffered from diarrhoea. Bad luck for the CD generation.