Released: 2001, Osmose Productions
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
First off, Impaled Nazarene are full of a bad taste. They´re insulting and are capable of raising more controversy among us than many other (metal) band. They make more enemies than friends. It´s much easier to hate and loathe them than like or love them. That´s why they have always fascinated me one way or another even if I haven´t always been too thrilled or excited with everything they have done - and not in terms of their raging music only, so to speak.
Their previous album, NIHIL, introduced to us a new "permanent" member of the lineup: Alexi Laiho from the royal murder squad Children Of Bodom. "Permanently" he has at least been removed from the Impaled Nazarene camp for good (as I assume...) as far as some of Mikaakim´s past statements are concerned. Somnium has taken his place from the blackish Finnish “Polka/Humppa” madmen Finntroll as lead guitarist. I guess they hardly could have chosen anyone better ´coz ABSENCE... really ROCKS on the ruins of NIHIL - thrashing the remains of it down pretty easily and effortlessly. I don´t know whether Somnium should be given some credit for bringing a more focused and tighter approach to this album, but overall the songs stand out slightly better. Take for example the 3rd song on (funnily(!) titled) "The Lost Art of Goat Sacrificing" with its flying “power metal-ish” feel and the Steve Harris school of bass hooks. Or take the 8th track called "Humble Fuck of Death", the album´s most violent number with its occasional, storming Kerry King-like solo outbursts - tearing your eardrums mercilessly the most painful couple of seconds you´re about to experience listening to this particular song. Or, "Via Dolorosa", the 9th song which in fact, brings the German unbeatable pirates Running Wild to my mind in some peculiar way. The next song, "Nyrkilld Tapettava Huora (and DO NOT ASK a translation for this ´coz I WILL NOT provide it to you!!)", is musically the most hardcore-ish Impaled Nazarene outburst here and somewhat OK as a song as well. But lyrically it is just plain stupid and kind of fuels their reputation as a band with an abominable bad and sick taste indeed. "Nyrkillä Tapettava Huora..." - c'mon guys, give me a break!
“Never Forgive” is an exceptionally melodic yet dead-heavy song even if they have already done similar material before (anyone remember a song called "Blood Is Thicker than Water" on their highly acclaimed SUOMI FINLAND PERKELE album back in 1994?) whereas "Satan Wants You Dead" lasting less than what´s the world record in men´s 110 metre hurdles says it all.
Nevertheless, their 1st three albums, TOL CORMPT NORZ NORZ NORZ, UGRA-KARMA and SUOMI FINLAND PERKELE, still remain as absolute gems amongst the Impaled Nazarene releases. ABSENCE... is a respectively decent album with their most melodic and technical approach so far. This is definitely a different album compared to their previous releases; more mature and sophisticated to say least. Remember to always expect the unexpected from these guys ´coz their ways have always been unexplored, full of mysterious paths and mountains. That´s an unwritten rule written by the Alpha -warriors themselves thru the band´s existence and surely will be that way far into the future, I believe...