Impaled - Death After Life

posted by Greg, Wednesday February 23, 2005 @ 12:31:45 AM

Artist: Impaled (
Album: Death After Life
Release Date: March 8th, 2005
Label: Century Media

Rating: 7.5/10

Recommended Tracks: Critical Condition, Gutless, Wrought In Hell

Got gore? In the late 80's/early 90's when bands like Cannibal Corpse and Carcass began combining sickening lyrics ripped straight from an autopsy report with even more sickening riffs and blasphemous speed, the red-headed stepchild of the metal world, the gore metal genre, was born in much the same way an unwanted baby would be born and tossed into a dumpster (in fact, there are probably several gore metal songs on this subject if you want to look them up). In America the two main bands proudly carrying the bloody stump of a torch for gore metal these days are Exhumed and Impaled, both hailing from the bay area in California and both more obsessed with the ins and outs of the human body than a thousand Jeffery Dahmers. Impaled's new album Death After Life is chock full of the blood, guts, entrails, and gory, ghastly, grimy gore metal goodness you'd expect from them, but their emphasis on groove and riffs moreso than a brutal percussion section makes them a bit easier on the ears than your average gory fare, and thus a much more enjoyable listen to the average metalhead.

Where Impaled differ from most other gore metal bands is in their speed - this album in particular has much more of a mid tempo, almost rock n' roll vibe to it, as opposed to recent works from bands like Aborted and Exhumed, which were all out balls-and-brains-to-the-wall speed fests. Impaled slow things down a bit, letting their trademark buzzsaw riffing slice your ears apart rather than beating them to a pulp with furious drumming. The clear highlight of the album is the rollicking "Critical Condition", which flat-outs rocks from start to finish with a killer hook and several groove-laden breaks inbetween. I guess you could call it gore n' roll, whatever it is it's definitely an entertaining mixture of medical school-textbook lyrics and the madcap nature of gore metal mixed in with good old fashion power-chord style rock music, while the decomposing heart of old-school thrash glory beats underneath it all.

And that's just what Impaled seems to be after - entertainment value. They're in on the joke with you on this album, as evidenced by the goofy composition of their website and by by the various skits placed throughout the album in which the band members pretend to be surgeons chatting over writhing, bleeding patients. A sample line - while a patient wakes up from anasthesia gurgling incoherently, one of the band members asks him "aww, what's the matter... cat got your tongue? Oh no, wait, we have it... right here in this jar.". In fact the whole album seems like the soundtrack to a campy b-grade slasher movie from days gone by. Impaled have their swollen, distended tongue firmly planted in rotting cheek the entire album.

The only minor problem on the album besides the repetitiveness that ultimately plagues all gore metal albums is the production values, which sound a bit murky especially when compared to their previous crystal-clear album Mondo Medicale. Trey Spruance of Mr. Bungle and Secret Chiefs III fame manned the board for this album, and it's possible he and the band may have wanted a more muddy sound, but the drums kinda sound washed out in the mix while the guitars take control of seemingly every song. It's really a minor nit-pick and shouldn't take away from your listening pleasure, but these guys have definitely sounded better before from a production standpoint.

You probably already kinda knew before you even started reading this whether or not you'll like this album, as gore metal is definitely one of the hardest genres in metal to acquire a bloody, rotten taste for. While this album certainly doesn't break any new ground, it's still a fun diversion to let yourself get lost in when you're looking for something different in the broad spectrum of metal. Trust me, these guys are laughing and banging their heads right along with you.

- Greg

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