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Raising the Stakes (See that pun? Whoa!) - 98%

__Ziltoid__, August 17th, 2010

Some call Oakland’s Impaled nothing more than a good Carcass ripoff. As someone who doesn’t really like much of Carcass’ music (although I do respect it), I couldn’t disagree more! Sure, there are quite a few similarities, but in my mind, Impaled just seems so much more intense. Having created four great death metal albums, Impaled is one of the great modern bands flying the death metal flag with pride. Their musical and creative peak, however, came in 2002 with their modern classic, Mondo Medicale.

For those who don’t know Impaled, you should expect lots of heavy riffs, addictively catchy hooks, uncompromising brutality, and an awesome harsh tri-vocal assault that includes all band members except the drummer. Impaled serves both as a good gateway band, with their accessible riffs, good production, and somewhat articulate vocals, and as a staple within even the most elitist realms of true death metal. Mondo Medicale is the best example of why Impaled is such a great band.

Impaled’s gimmick and central lyrical theme is gore and medical shit gone wrong. If you squirm at the idea of listening to such lyrics, then go the fuck back to power metal! I assure you, dragons and fairies tend not to get mixed with gore. From the opening instrumental piece, ‘The Hippocratic Oath,’ Impaled make it clear that this will sound like every medical horror ever shown in films, just with even more blood and guts. The piano and audio samples are a very nice touch, actually. You might not expect such attention to detail from a band like this, but small things like this really give this album a sadistic atmosphere that really works wonders with their lyrics.

Soon, ‘Dead Inside’ starts, and the extremely low, very guttural vocals start things off very nicely. They’re the kind of vocals that are nice and low, but not laughably low like a lot of generic brutal death metal bands that sound like shit. After that comes a nice vocal trade off between the highest and raspiest harsh vocals and the mid-range harsh vocals, and this is really a treat to hear. The high vocals are especially outstanding. They really do a lot on this album, whether on their own, or when harmonized with another vocalist. What’s really odd is how fucking catchy they are. Sure, the riffs here are catchy, but the harsh vocal melodies are abnormally catchy. When people think of harsh vocals, catchy tends not to be what comes to their minds. But here, they’re super catchy! In my opinion, they’re catchiest on the choruses of ‘Raise the Stakes,’ ‘Operating Theatre,’ ‘We Belong Dead,’ and ‘The Worms Crawl In.’

Of course, while all that fun vocal stuff is going on, the riffs almost get ignored upon first listen. Hell, I only focused on the awesome vocals when I first heard this album. But the fucking riffs here are abso-fucking-lutely fucking excellent! Impaled transition from groovier, catchy riffs to tremelo picked riffs and thrashier death metal riffs with ease, and these riffs alternate all throughout each song. Once again, ‘Dead Inside’ is a perfect example of this. I really love how this song is structured, especially the riff placement and transition. Riffs also tend to appear in altered forms in the same song, which is something is really like when it’s done well.

The leads and solos here are actually very interesting. While certainly on the melodic side, leaning towards the Iron Maiden-influenced style implemented in later Carcass albums, the melodic nature of these never dominates the music, and I mean that in the most positive of way. Quite often, death metal bands with a lot of melodic leads like this let them dominate the music to the point where the actual death metal part of the music is diluted to the point where it’s just dull and boring. Impaled does not let that happen here! These melodies and solos certainly have their appropriate sections of songs, but even there, they are blended with what is going on, which is usually a catchy riff.

I feel like I must give special mention to ‘Operating Theatre,’ which was one of my first real death metal songs. This song has an incredibly simple and catchy riff that refuses to leave your head if you let it get stuck there! The lowest of the harsh vocalists dominates the beginning of this song, which makes it surprising that it’s so accessible. This is a prime example of the true role of harsh vocals in metal. most of us appreciate them for what they are–a darker, more extreme, atmospherically fitting, often violent, aggressive alternative to clean vocals. With harsh vocals, the point is not to really care about the words, but to grasp the melody and feeling exuded by the vocalist. The beginning of ‘Operating Theatre’ does this in a way that is, to me, one of the finest and easiest ways to understand, especially for someone new to metal. To make things even better, the harsh vocals in this song harmonize with the low harsh vocals for the chorus, while also standing on their own in the thrashy section of the song. Again, since many who get into death metal get into it through thrash, this song serves as an excellent introduction to death metal. Of course, the main riff here is, as stated before, catchy as hell, but my favorite part of the song is at 2:07 when they play half of the riff, and then end it with varying rhythms while alternating vocalists each time. It’s one of those things that took me awhile to notice the beauty of, but once I did, I really gained a new respect for this song.

With that love letter of a paragraph aside, the rest of this album is also damn great. The drumming is mostly straightforward, mixing between a mid-paced and fast blastbeat. When the catchy riffs play, the drums are integral in establishing their catchiness by playing a restrained beat. A simple, groovy 4/4 beat can really do wonders if implemented well, and Impaled do it like the best of them. These beats really accentuate the transition from the faster, more aggressive sections of the song and the catchier ones. The one in the chorus of ‘We Belong Dead’ is one my my favorites, because it makes the already catchy chorus even catchier.

Is there Carcass-worship going on here? Sure, to a certain extent. But Impaled tend to take things to more intense level than anything they’re worshiping. With Mondo Medicale, Impaled created an album that is miles better than anything Carcass wrote while also being a staple in its own right, serving as deliciously awesome blend of melody and brutality, with little compromise from either side. If you like Carcass, you’ll definitely love this. If you don’t like Carcass, you’ll probably love this. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Written for

Stonking Elephantiasis Style Dogs' Bollocks - 90%

earthwormgaz, January 13th, 2009

This album really is the Dogs', its storming.

Beginning at the beginning (where else?), we've got a pretty daft intro, which tells you a lot about this band. Its tongue in cheek, and manages to be amusing and sick at the same time, just like the music. Its music with the sort of attitude you can enjoy, and laugh about, but there's no laughing at the quality on offer.

The lyrics? Daft as fuck, but covering Carcass style medical themes.
The Music? The quality of the riff writing is blinding, there's some stunners on here, lots of them. There's gore drenched solos, and lead and backing vocals combine in meaty fashion to kick your arse all over the room.

The odd moment, we get synth work or some samples which add to the atmosphere, which I find builds. You start with the daft intro, and take the band lightly, but I reckon as the quality starts to impress itself on you, you take on the subject matter more and more, and the listening experience just gets all the more intense for it. The album flows nicely, and really seems to actually take a journey of sorts in terms of its feel, which isn't the sort of compliment you'd expect to be paying a record like this.

There's not much more to say than, buy it. This is the sort of album that makes you want to bang your head, that reminds you why you love extreme metal. Yes, its Carcass worship, no, you shouldn't care about that. Did I mention you should buy this?

Dancetastical Death Groove - 98%

Cunt_Crushing_Death, May 1st, 2005

When I purchased this album, i had never heard any Impaled material before, so i didn't know what I was getting myself into. What I unwittingly opened up was a boner inducing "Pandora's Box" of death groove delight. From the first track on, I was captivated and utterly glued to my car stereo, head banging all the while.

"The Hippocritic Oath" opens up with an eerie piano tune followed by the same tune in an equally eerie guitar riff. Their "cote d' morte" is spoken next with dynamic effect, then comes the fucking neck snapping death riffs and from that moment on, I knew that this album would fucking destroy in ways I didn't know I could possibly destroy. Holy Fuck was i right.

"Dead Inside" starts off heavy as fuck and melds into groove riffs intermixing the opening rhythm throughout, at 2:17 the song opens up a whole truckload of whoop-ass cans and thoroughly beats the listener into a bloody cadaver.

"Raise the Stakes" is one of my personal favorite tracks of Impaled's career repertoire...The groove riffs in this song literally last from start to finish. A nice jazz influence solo is thrown in shortly after the song begins and melds into the lyrical domination of McGrath and Sewage. At 2:45 easily the best groove melody is introduced to the listener amid screams of pain from the impaled victims on the stakes. You will not tire of this song after 1000 listens. I know I haven't, and it has been FAR over 1000 listens for this Impaled fan.

I will not spoil the rest for those of you who have not had the privilege of owning or hearing this cd. My advice to you, is to get to your nearest metal record store or wherever you can find this cd, and fucking buy it....NOW!

Standout Tracks: All except the instrumental "Carpe Mortem"

P.S. the -2% was for this album not being fucking longer, 10 tracks of total fucking skull crushing death groove just isn't enough.

Overrated, but still very very good. - 92%

AzzMan, February 6th, 2004

I can't bear to give this album anything higher. I love it, but honestly there ARE better albums. I'd take Lykathea Aflame or Dripping over Impaled. I really, really would.

Do you know Impaled well? No? Do you know Carcass? Yes? Do you remember Heartwork? Well, Impaled entirly fuckign stole every single thing Carcass did/were before they turned into shitrock, and fucked with it alot and changed it, AND NOW HERE THEY ARE!

I think this is possibly the safest possible thing to call "Carcass worship" fucking EVER. Hey, that ain't a bad fuckin' thing. Impaled do what they do incredibly well. Well thought riffs remeniscent of Necroticsm or Heartwork, tri-vox assault, everything checked and best yet, it and Vader got me into metal as I listen to Suidakra, right now.

Sorry to head off a bit, but I need to say one quick thing. In my review for Arcturus' compilation I mentioned the song Raudt Og Svart and one other song were contending for "Best song ever". I need to add SUidakra - Trails of Gore to that list, so any of my readers (oh wait I dont have any) know.

Back on track! Impaled helped push me into heavier music, so I must respect them for that.

When push comes to shove, most of what you'll hear here, you'll have heard before under the name "CARCASS" or "GHOUL" maybe even kind of. It's a bit recycled, some of the tracks get a bit old fast, but overall everything is very solid, and it's the best deja vu you'll ever have.

Fucking amazing - 100%

mpazzkikr23, March 7th, 2003

Holy shit, this is a great album. Easily one of my favorites. Everything here is just great: the whole tri-vocals concept, the crushing guitar riffs...everything.

The album gets off to a good start with "The Hippocritic Oath." This little instrumental number starts with an eerie piano playing. This leads into a spoken part, which concludes with a harsh GROWL and two really cool guitar solos.

The Hippocratic Oath jumps right into "Dead Inside," another great song. This is where we get the first taste of Impaled's vocalists. Sean is the high-pitched singer (who sounds almost identical to Jeff Walker of Carcass, I might add...), Andrew is the growling one in the middle, and Ross is the deep, guttural one. Each of them shines in this song (and on the rest of the CD, of course).

Next up is "Raise the Stakes." This song starts off with a catchy little riff that leads right into a nice solo played by Andrew. Then Sean's vocals kick in, and it just goes from there. Everything about this song is just great.

"Operating Theatre" starts off with a nice drum intro followed by a cool guitar riff and Ross's deep growls. The rest of the song is also very good.

We move right into "Choke on It," one of the highlights of the album. This song features some of Ross's deepest vocals and a catchy as hell chorus.

"We Belong Dead," my personal favorite on the album, starts off with another spoken intro, then Andrew's vocals kick in and the song explodes into a crazy mix of excellent vocals, excellent riffs...excellent everything. The chorus is also very fucking catchy and fun to sing along to, and to top it all off, there are 6 guitar solos in this song. 6! A must-listen.

Next, we're treated to a lovely intro to the song "The Worms Crawl In." (listen to it, you'll see what I mean...) This song is also very good.

"To Die For" is next, and once again, we've got an excellent song to listen to. This song starts off with a cool drum intro and a nice, deep scream efore leading into Ross's guttural moans and some great riffage. Great stuff.

"Rest in Faeces" is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 8 minutes (well, the actual song is only about 6 minutes; there's some dialogue at the end), and it is a masterpiece. Great drums, awesome riffs, awesome solos. Y'know, the usual...

Finally, the album comes to an end with "Carpe Mortem." This is a nice little instrumental and it ends the album on a good note. A perfect end to a perfect album.

Well, there you have it. If you are a fan of Carcass or medical-themed death metal, this CD belongs in your collection. Some say that Impaled is just a rip-off of Carcass. That may be so, but hey...its good fucking music. Who cares what or who they sound like, as long as its good. Am I right?

*cricket chirps*


Highlights: Raise the Stakes, We Belong Dead, Rest in Faeces


They really don't belong dead... - 98%

Dead, January 17th, 2003

Ah yes Impaled. One of my new favorite bands. Their first cd "The Dead Shall Dead Remain" was good but really never made me get shivers and have the hair on the back of my neck stand up. But this, this right here hit the spot.

The CD starts out with a catchy as fuck instremental entitled "The Hippocritic Oath" which realy makes you want to get up and start head banging. Then the vocals start. The tri-vocal destruction is pulled off well. With the highest of the pitches being a mirror of Jeff Walker. The lowest being nice, and the middle not being so great. But still it doesnt take away much from the music. The vocals are mixed perfectly into the music, and come through great.

The guitars are down-tuned and have an amazing tone. Riffs have a good bit of variety and you will end up humming at least one throught the whole day as they just stick with you. Solos are very nice and don't repeat themselves.

Drums are placed in a just about a perfect place in the mix. Not the upmost technical of drumming but a good bit of rolls and such are placed into songs.

Lyrics are great. Some of the best out in Death Metal. The don't use harcore medical terms like Carcass but most deal with them medical things and have a good dose of humor. Very fun to read.

Carcass clones? Maybe, but who gives a shit about originality. Carcass was a great band and we shoudl welcome thoes who emulate them well, it's not an easy thing to do.

Fav. Tracks: "We belong Dead" "The Hippocritic Oath" "Choke On It"

Is There A Doctor In The House? - 98%

Rottrephile, November 22nd, 2002

Tri-vocal attack, excellent guitar work, flawless drumming, excellent production. Yes, this is good stuff. Granted, I am slightly inclined to give this band a good rating because they also happen to be my favorite modern band, they are well deserving of praise. This release is a departure from the The Dead Shall Dead Remain in that there has been a major injection of melody. This isn't Arch Enemy stuff though, this is more like Carcass era Necroticism making sweet sweet love with the title track off of Heartwork. Images of songs having sex aside, onwards to the review.

The Hippocritic Oath is an intro track. An eerie piano melody segueing into a spoken intro (spoken from the perspective of an insane doctor) then comes some riffage and some more spoken stuff. It ends with a screamed "Is there a doctor in the house?". Perfect intro to this album.

Dead Inside starts kicking ass at an efficient speed and only lets up to allow Andrew LaBarre to unleash a pretty wicked solo. Very catchy. Also the first signs of Heartwork-esque melody appear here at 1:03.

Next up is Raise The Stakes, a song about Impaled touring and laying waste. A more mid-paced song, but nonetheless, a good one. The solo (0:14) that starts off the song is damn good. Andrew LaBarre proved that he was a good replacement for Leon del Muerte with that solo alone. This song is also a good showcase for the three different vocal styles employed by Impaled. Granted Leon del Muerte's growl is better, Andrew makes up for this deficiency with his superior guitarwork.

Onto the highlight of this album, Operating Theatre. This one starts of with a catchy, mid-paced riff with mostly the guttural vocals of Ross Sewage. Then a gang shout "Welcome to the operating theatre!" follows into a transition riff that leads us into Sean McGrath's screams over an excellent riff. From here the song keeps kicking ass and you will undoubtedly bang your head. If not, you probably listen to Opeth so you should return to whatever form of anal sex you were having with yourself prior to listening to Impaled. A nice solo and out. Best song on the album.

Next up is Choke On It. This one is mostly fast paced from beginning to end with one big break in the middle. Sadly there is no solo here, but nonetheless, a good, straightforward song.

We Belong Dead also has a faster pace feel to it, except during the chorus which has more of a groove feel to it. Good riffs and good drumming, the back bone of all metal. This song also boasts the most solos (6) and all of being excellent. The solo at the end of the song is also very jazzy, which for some reason fits well with the song. Go figure.

The Worms Crawl In is rather unique in that it has the only keyboard section of the entire cd. I generally hate keyboards, but the section pops up for a second or two, then disappears. Well done and not intrusive. The song itself is more along the lines of We Belong Dead, complete with up beat pace and ass kicking riffs. Oh, and it has a kick ass solo that is reminiscent of Van Halen, of all people.

To Die For is pretty mid-paced and is somewhat similar to Raise The Stakes, except there are some pretty interesting guitar licks here and there. Also I must say that this song sounds very Heartwork-esque, moreso than any other song here.

To round out this album is Rest In Faeces, which is also in the same style as Raise The Stakes and To Die For. A good solo pops up at the end. Also, there is some very funny dialogue at the end of the song, something that must be heard.

Carpe Mortum is an instrumental that ends the cd with an almost funeral procession atmosphere (but not in a gay black metal way).

I bought an air guitar off of eBay for $200 just so I could play along with some of these riffs. I suggest you buy this album and do the same.