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Impaled – Death After Life

Label: Century Media
Format: CD
Released: 2005
Reviewed By: The Goat

The Thanatologists are back and as bloody as ever...

I have been an Impaled fan ever since hearing their first album, “The Dead Shall Dead Remain”. Even in spite of only seeing them play live only once, which probably could have been a better show if the venue had been different (the venue shall remain nameless to protect the innocent). Their dark twisted humor (nothing to make me laugh harder than a poop pun) combined with the melodic aggression a la Carcass and the different movie samples has made them one of my favorite bands.

 

I feel as though I have been waiting forever for their new album, "Death After Life" to arrive. Ever since I heard that Impaled had signed with Century Media, I wondered "How will this new album be affected by this new event?" Far too often bands fail to live up to a larger label and their life expectancy seems proportional. Well, as far as Impaled is concerned, the only answer that will satisfy is that only time will tell.

The production on "Death After Life"” captures the qualities of their previous releases thanks to Trey Spruance, Billy Anderson, and Randall Dunn. These names should be very familiar to anyone who likes extreme music. The production sound is a little dirtier than "Mondo Medicale", which had a cleaner more melodic quality to it.

This is not to say that "Death After Life" suffers from a lack of melodic guitar work, quite the opposite. If anything, this slight change (or perhaps a merging of previous sound qualities) moves Impaled away from the Carcass tag. Whether this is intentional or not, Impaled has demonstrated a definite degree of progression in their style. "Death After Life’s" sound is more of a death metal sound as opposed to the Carcass stylings of "Mondo" and "Dead". (As a side note, I don't think it is a negative to sound too much like Carcass, unless you're trying to sound like U2 or Britney Spears.)

This album introduces us to the newest addition to the twisted collective psyche that is Impaled, Jason Kocol as replacement for Andrew LeBarre. Mr. Kocol's vocals add a harsher edge to Impaled's tripartite delivery and for the listener, a welcome surprise.

Overall, the album appears to be a concept album as evidenced by the DIY skits interspersed throughout the album. I refuse to reveal what the story is, because I refuse to spoil it for anyone else. Plus, "Death After Life" deserves to be heard on this level without any preconceived notions.

I will say that I am mixed about the DIY skits since I always enjoy hearing what weird samples a band, like Impaled, will choose to put in/with their songs. That having been said, Impaled has made the album totally unique and, quite oddly, very personal with these skits.

The only faults that I can find, are that the solos are not as psychotically melodic as "Mondo" or "Dead". This piece was disappointing upon first listen but after many repeated listens it becomes less noticeable. This also lends to the moving away from their previous Carcass sound. Plus, the thrashiness that was tremendously present on "Mondo" seems to be lessened. Which is not to say this album doesn't rock, but it has an altogether different feel, more extreme sounding, like more of a death metal album as i have said before.

While I won't say this is their best (nor the worst) release to date, it is a slow burner and I think soon I'll love it as much as the others. Perhaps this is the sign of the genius of a good piece of art in that it takes its time to sink in. Ironically, then, I might say this is a subtle album. And for a band with a name like "Impaled" this is a very high compliment indeed.

 
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