Released: 2005, Century Media
I’ve been anxiously anticipating this new full length from these West Coast sickos ever since their previous longplayer MONDO MEDICALE split me in half back in 2002. The band had been working on this one, intriguingly entitled DEATH AFTER LIFE, for a long time, so I expected nothing less than utter perfection. The end result, while thoroughly enjoyable, doesn’t seem to fulfill all of my expectations.
I think my main problem with DEATH AFTER LIFE lies within the album’s production: it doesn’t possess enough punch or life to do justice to the righteous collection of songs the band has deployed here. Tracks like “Gutless” and “Mondo Medicale” should reach through the speakers and into my chest, but their impact is severely damaged by the sonic compression the have undergone here (the drums sound especially awful).
Sound-quality aside, however, the music here on DEATH AFTER LIFE is out-fucking-standing, which is what really matters, right? While bands ripping off Carcass seems to be sprouting like weeds these days, Impaled have much more to offer than your average group of gore-hounds. Their knack for songwriting and composition far exceeds their contemporaries in Exhumed and Aborted (both bands still kick ass, though), taking a healthy amount of influence from both classic Thrash (Bay Area) and Death Metal (Stockholm).
The NECROTICISM/HEARTWORK era Carcass influence is still there in the riff department, however, tempered with some tasteful, melodic lead guitar work. This intense level of axemanship has always been the aspect of Impaled which set them apart from other acts, and it just keeps getting more twisted and more demented with age.
The sound is what really kills this record for me, though. I just can’t get over it. It severely impedes upon the listening experience as a whole, and leaves me wondering what could have been, had the band placed as much effort into it as they obviously did to their songwriting.
I only hope this becomes rectified next time around, because it would truly be a shame to see such a talented band fall by the wayside due to one crappy-sounding album. Still, Impaled deserve your support, and this IS a rockin album…just realize what your getting into before you press “play”