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Impalement - The Impalement

The Impalement
by Robert Amer at 19 May 2020, 1:41 PM

There are structural molds that can confine songwriters across different genres, and such formulaic templates are common in black metal. These familiar stencils serve as predictable puzzle pieces and when assembled into an album, the whole adopts an amoeba-like impermanence in the minds of listeners. IMPALEMENT, the brainchild of Beliath, distances itself from many of its peers, and THE IMPALEMENT is a well paced first release in which each track possesses a distinct character thanks to varied song structures.

The album’s eponymous first track starts with a melodic tremolo riff over a blast beat: a typical pairing in black metal songs. This is true, but the following riffs bloom forth without jarring the ears with the awkward transitions that can be so common in the genre. An overarching element of IMPALEMENT’s sound is this melodic tremolo which often presents a resigned and melancholy temperament. “Alma Pater” utilizes this device effectively with a pleasing contrast set up by the tense and foreboding mid-tempo intro with its layered invocation of guttural vocals. This makes the melodic sections stand out. A section like this prepares the most effective solo on the album by Beliath and effectively communicates that this track is a dedication along with the lyrics and other pensive riffs. That said, the song closes with a brutal spin on the intro riff/invocation that is very well done.  “The Court Of Rats” begins with what sounds like an executioner’s procession in the midst of a hail storm—a scene painted by the grim guitars and Torturer’s relentless double bass. The chorus is catchy and the song as a whole flows nicely, especially the unexpected yet complementing course taken after the last refrain.

The album closes with two tracks that persist with the album’s aggression and fresh structural cohesion. “Satan’s Fire In My Eyes” steadily gathers momentum while taking compelling, unpredictable turns. It also features a strong performance by Helmuth Lehner in a guitar solo that serves as a smooth transition into the latter half of the song. The album is hammered to its end with the Nietzschean finale “Thus Spoke I - Götzendämmerung”. It begins with a ferocious intro that cuts right into a verse and maintains a high energy throughout. The track as a whole seems ideal as a set closer with its majestic middle section and the ominous snare pattern that seems to precede a firing squad before it ends in epic fashion.

The Impalement is a strong album and looks to be a promising start for Beliath. The structural versatility displayed throughout is rare in a black metal record although there is a drop off in the appeal of a couple tracks. Overall, IMPALEMENT has a sound that lends itself to intriguing listeners during a first listen.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Impalement
2. The Tombs Of The Saints
3. Within The Court Of Rats
4. Alma Pater
5. I Am All
6. Satan’s Fire In My Eyes
7. Thus Spoke I - Götzendämmerung
Beliath - Vocals, Guitars, and Bass
Torturer - Drums (Studio)
Helmuth Lehner - Guitar Solo (“Satan’s Fire In My Eyes”)
Sarah Jezebel Deva - Spoken Words (“I Am All”)
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 05 June 2020

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