Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

MetalDaveCampbell, 36 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

The Impaler – A Fate Worse Than Death Award winner

The Impaler
A Fate Worse Than Death
by Gary Hernandez at 29 March 2021, 11:51 PM

The five-piece Death Metal outfit THE IMPALER sprung out of Melbourne, Australia like a carbon steel piston through flesh. That was 2020, the year of infamy. The debut album was “Death Cult.” It left a nasty scar that’s never going to go away. On February 19, 2021, less than a year later, THE IMPALER returned with their second album, “A Fate Worse Than Death,” and the trauma erupted all over again.

The sophomore album comprises seven tracks and clocks out at thirty minutes. There are two featured artists, CJ McMohan (THY ART IS MURDER) on “Mourn” and Josh Hill (CEREMENT) on “Hatred.” What the album lacks in duration and quantity of tracks, it makes up in intensity and quality of production. The complexity of the songwriting — with multiple twists, turns, textures, and contours — hints at a wide swath of influences from Melodic to Blackened to Technical. The result is a soundscape as rich as it is dark.

The graystone album cover embossed in black symbology is deceptively simple, as is the album itself. Did I say graystone? Well, maybe it’s a more of an opaque mist and those reliefs shift to unsettling images the longer you stare at them. And that’s what the entire album is like. You think you got it pinned and then the phrasing loosens or tightens, drifts up, slams down and suddenly you’re in a different space altogether. The titles promise simplicity — “Voices,” “Failure,” “Mourn,” “Fear” — but the compositions deliver anything but.

Track one, “Voices,” aptly starts off with what sounds like ambient backtracking with a spoken word overlay. I couldn’t identify the source of the narrative — Google and my patience both failed me — but essentially it sounds like a dark meditative take on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Like Crowley studied some quantum physics and then dropped acid and wrote a lecture about it . . . and then got possessed by Baphomet. So goes the first track. Well, until the two-minute mark when the band does things with harmonies, intervals, and consonance fluctuation that would make Wagner blush. And then you remember that quantum physics stuff from the beginning, and you realize these metalheads might be evil geniuses.

I won’t give a track-by-track review, that’s the ultimate spoiler, but I will call out my favs. “Immortal” is an obvious pick for me because I’m a sucker for the acoustic intro which erupts into epic melodic riffs. This is also the track that pivots the album from aggressive assault to tectonic detonations. And the synth underlayer. Too good. And then “Fear” which has a trippy Industrial drum intro which the previous track preludes. But don’t let that dissuade you, this is one of the heaviest tracks on the album. The final track, “Release,” is for me the best track on the album with Doom intonations and haunting lead guitar work. “Mourn” and “Hatred” are also excellent and will get loads of due attention with the aforementioned guest appearances.

Lyrically, the album is grim and timely. It explores the impact that death has on those who are left behind, taking the listener through the trying journey of the grieving process and ending in release. So much of Death Metal focuses on the nastier bits of death itself, but “A Fate Worse than Death” takes on what might actually be heavier — the weight of surviving. The point being “a fate that is worse than death” is to continue living in vestiges of the memory of the departed. I should say that the ultimate vibe here isn’t nihilistic despair, but more a cheerless acceptance.

The band does their own writing, producing, mixing, even cover art and distribution. If you haven’t noticed, two of the members are brothers, Ben Von Looy and Shaun Von Looy. The drummer, Jammie Hubbard, is a cousin. Lewis Ranford is reputedly another Melbourne resident. So, a bit a family and local affair. I say that before mentioning that Jordan Scott, vocalist, is from the U.S. Reminds you of what grassroots Metal is all about.

Altogether, THE IMPALER is a band to keep your eye on. Not only for your own safety but because this is some seriously high caliber Death Metal. With two albums in two years, these blokes are clearly on a tear. You don’t want to miss this while it’s still searing hot.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Voices
2. Failure
3. Immortal
4. Mourn
5. Fear
6. Hatred
7. Release
Shaun Van Looy – Lead Guitar
Lewis Ranford – Rhythm Guitar
Ben Van Looy – Bass
Jammie Hubbard – Drums
Jordan Scott – Vocals
Record Label: Independent


You do not have permission to rate
Edited 30 November 2022

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green