Released: 2010, Osmose Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
So like 100 years ago, I was picking out some CDs through the JL America mail order advertisement in Metal Maniacs magazine (R.I.P.), since there was some kind of deal where if you could order a certain number of CDs for a ridiculously low price. I didn’t know anything about the bands being distributed; only the title of the albums and the album covers themselves. One of those albums was Impaled Nazarene’s debut, TOL CORMPT NORZ NORZ NORZ. It was a ridiculously fast and noisy affair, and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And while it took me several years to really appreciate the unrepentant madness of that album, I’ve followed the band’s discography over the course of the last 18 years with total respect and admiration for the Finnish goat lovers. ROAD TO THE OCTAGON marks Impaled Nazarene’s 11th full length studio album, and while it’s not my favorite collection from the band, it’s still a thoroughly hostile and enjoyable platter of sadogoat death grind.
At its core, ROAD TO THE OCTAGON is just what you’d expect from Impaled Nazarene. Hyper fast blast beats, cramp inducing speed riffing, and some of the greatest nihilistic lyrics ever written. From “Corpses” – “Prolonging your endless agony on Earth/Thanks to modern science, you can soil yourself forever/ Cheap perfume does not hide the smell of death that surrounds you.” Sheer poetry. The album rips open expectedly from the get go with “Enlightenment Process” and doesn’t come up for air until the fading maelstrom of “Rhetoric Infernal.” It’s in between where things get a little blurry and cluttered. The sounds of a drum roll leading up to burning riffs and Mika’s screaming are in plentiful supply, and given that most of the tunes are generally 2-minute bursts of chaos, certain songs get lost in each other. But for each of those moments, you get tracks like “Gag Reflex” and “Convulsing Uncontrollably,” with their punk infused nods to the past, as does the potent vitriol of “Cult of the Goat.”
The production sounds awfully slick for the band, even given the polished presentation of their last few discs. I can’t help but think that a little more dirt and grime might have pushed ROAD TO THE OCTAGON a few notches up on the awesome meter, as the brightness in the mix takes away from some of the depth of the songs. But hey, what do I know? Impaled Nazarene has always been a band that’s followed its own path, with middle finger prominently extended for all to see, so to hell with anyone who doesn't like it. While albums like URGA-KARMA and RAPTURE may hold a special place in my blackened heart, ROAD TO THE OCTAGON is still a mean and nasty album to be reckoned with and is still better than so much of the crap currently clogging the arteries of the metal scene today. ROAD TO THE OCTAGON is out now on Osmose Productions, so support the goat and support Impaled Nazarene by picking this one up.