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An apocalyptic spectacle of moshing - 73%

thrashtidote, June 15th, 2015

Danish thrash? In retrospect, I'm glad with the Danes Impalers putting out another record, not solely because it fills in the shortage of thrash metal premises, which, to my knowledge, have not been fulfilled by any band since the 80's except Artillery, but also because the band's 2013 full-length ''Power Behind the Throne'' was already a forgotten disc in that endless mound of promos and albums which I acquire annually, without concessions. Nevertheless I'd say among the heap of neo-thrash acolytes who preach the wisdom and savagery of Kreator, Sodom or Destruction, Impalers stands out as by far one of the more potent, capable of serving instances of undiluted 80's chainsaw thrash action without adhering to some of the more stylistic conventions of the genre such as those whose trail was blazed by Watchtower, Toxik, Coroner and Artillery in the 80's and early 90's. Not that it's a problem... I'd feign to see some proper Coroner worship any time, especially since retro-thrash is in such a dire state nowadays, but granted Impalers isn't crossing that strait, we still have ourselves an enjoyable piece of 80's worship.

The sound of ''God From the Machine'' has an immediate Teutonic appeal, as if the ferocity of those early Kreator records were somehow infused with brisker production values and slightly more growled vocals instead of Millie's signature verbal barks. That is to say, the album still bears a strong resemblance to Destruction's later work, following the explosive ''The Antichrist'', but Impalers is still more melodic than that, incorporating harmonies and modern metal melodies which fluidly bridge the ravaging chugs and rhythmic chops which demonstrate the group's finesse with their cutlery. Nearly every song here is a butcher's feast, with loads of delicious chops, palm muted tremolos and immense projections of chords like the verse riff on ''Prepare for War''. Impalers isn't exactly an Angelus Apatrida or a Suicidal Angels, which both possess too much inherent melodic death/thrash tendencies to be called 'pure' thrash outfits, because the sense of melody on this album is scarce, existing mostly in the spurious, bluesy leads. Mechanically clad, ''God From the Machine'' evokes then image of some unwarranted robot intruding into some city with huge, ballistic laser guns and rockets protruding from its soldiers... a feeling more apocalyptic than your regular thrash outing, perhaps as a result of the vocalist's haughty growls and dynamic drum work: either way ''God From the Machine'' somehow aspires to become something marginally different from its ancestors like Kreator and Sodom, who with records like ''Pleasure to Kill'' or ''Obsessed With Cruelty'' salvaged an antiquated sense of evil rather than the robotic mosh-fest present here.

That said, Impalers still owes a lot to the Bay Area scene. I can relate them instantly with the Germanic scene due the evident hostility of the guitars (the vocals help too) but I'm sure that the Danes owe something to Metallica, Vio-lence, Forbidden, Slayer and Overkill something as well. But I can also see that the band is somewhat on the edge of experimentation here: ''Beyond Trinity'' is a ballad that opens up with clean vocals and deliquescent guitar arpeggios, building gradually to a brisker array of riffs, something akin to a ''Welcome Home''. Any any rate, the Danes are more modern and polished than a thrash band out the 80's, and the riffs here aren't exactly recycled, with enough fury, memorability and in-your-face gang vocals to establish a firm kick in your balls. I would have definitely enjoyed if they hadn't paraphrased so many of their riffs, especially with songs like ''The Vulturine'' or ''The Walls of Eryx'' which not only surpass the boundaries of regular thrash-time, but exercise excessive quantities of futuristic mosh that doesn't feel on par with the crunchy ear candy I received on some of the better tracks. Still, refined, tight, professional, and definitely ahead of a good number of their peers, Impalers delivers the thrash animus nicely with ''God From the Machine'', and you can bet kids in tight jeans and Slayer shirts will be recounting this as one of the best thrash to have come out in 2015.

Highlights:
God From the Machine
Prepare for War
Destroy the Meek

http://laceratedthrashmetal.blogspot.com/

Witnessing the rising tide. - 80%

Diamhea, June 2nd, 2015

The foreboding artwork by the always-enthralling Pär Olofsson should alleviate any concerns that Denmark's Impalers are yet another cadre of rethrash coattail-riders, and I'll be damned - the band actually follows through with this encouraging first impression. Some time ago I appraised Belgium's Bloodrocuted, who proved to me that Europe is the current hotbed for modern thrash acts, espousing nothing of the fifth-rate Exodus and Nuclear Assault worship that has driven the American scene into the depths of self-parody (and below). To me, Impalers sound like they are trying to evoke the long-exorcised specters of the '80s German scene, featuring a marked Kreator influence along with more than a few tricks up their collective sleeve. Damn, I'm really digging this!

Featuring an appreciably warm yet honed and surgical production job, God from the Machine takes advantage of its year of release, yet is conscious of its throwback appeals. Riffs are clinical and austere, razing the landscape and generating a positive response from these ears. A divisive level of experimentation obviously isn't a required part of Impalers' protocol, but I did appreciate the album's ability to spark interest outside of the standard poser-slaying configuration. "Future Void's" acoustic opening seems pretty standard fare at first blush, but a few tracks later the band furls brows with the surprising and poignant thrash ballad "Beyond Trinity," which sort of strikes a moving balance between "Fade to Black" and something like Overkill's "Soulitude." Even more stimulating is the eight-plus minute roller coaster of tonality that is "The Walls of Eryx." This serves as a virile and energetic swell of creativity that stands out amongst the punchier fare that comprises the majority of the record. The back-and-forth diversion employed between the acoustic padding and storming riffing intervals reminds me of some of Annihilator's better instrumental bits.

Concerning individual performances, proceedings are still looking up. Crawack's vocals are your pretty typical raspy spewing of syllables associated with the style, but I actually prefer his work on the earlier EP Prepare for War. Here, he seems too preoccupied with trying to lampoon Mille Petrozza's vile sneer (he isn't bad at it, mind) - mixing it up with a few death growls and half-shouts. I really like it when he uses the latter, but either way there is enough variation to keep eyes from rolling back into heads. Crawack also has a fucking slingshot of a picking hand, ossifying the rhythm section into an immobile bulwark of molten competence by virtue of his precision chugging. Carnell then takes the reigns, soaring all about and executing a clinic on melodic thrash leadwork. "The Walls of Eryx" is obviously where he enjoys the most exposure, but that isn't to discount the smattering of harmonized dual-leads that are scattered about the more direct and visceral numbers. The title track, for example, is a tense and disorienting descent that would integrate fluidly within the catalogues of the acts Impalers bow before.

In the end, God from the Machine stands out as one of the best modern thrash albums not released by a veteran act. This very well may end up topping my year-end list for the genre, and evokes the same sense of anger and velocity ingrained within the best of the formative years, yet I rarely get the sense that the band is playing thrash from the worn out instruction manual. There are enough striking deviations to color an already vibrant menagerie of appeals, and those fond of the Teutonic trio of terror that need not be named should add God from the Machine to their want list.