June 17, 2014 Impaled Nazarene – Vigorous and Liberating Death (Album review)
Godfathers of the Finnish black metal scene along with Beherit and Archgoat, Impaled Nazarene has been defecating their brand of speedy, aggressive black metal since the early 1990’s. Steeped in themes of sexual deviancy, Finnish nationalism, and goats; Impaled Nazarene has over eleven studio albums proven to be as reliable as Mötorhead when it comes to spitting out their brand of punk-infused, lo-fi black metal. Vigorous and Liberating Death, album number twelve, comes at us once more on Osmose Productions; the only label the band has ever known. Lyrical themes include the many aspects of death, with special attention given to the deaths of the economies of the EU, as well as the growing demise of our freedoms of speech. With song titles like “Flaming Sword of Satan”, “Vestal Virgins”, and “Drink Consultation”, the material is vintage nasty Impaled Nazarene. At only 33:48 in length, the band wastes no time in doing what they do best, and that is going for the throat.
A clearer production is the first thing noticeable as first song “King Reborn” blasts out. The riffs are decidedly of a hardcore/punk nature; think Total Chaos or Disfear. The mix does not leave out the bass guitar, an instrument played with a high degree of acumen by Mikael Arnkil. His playing throughout the album is a definite highlight. Mika Luttinen’s voice sounds as vicious as ever, but is also somewhat understandable, lending the punk vibe to the speedy black metal on offer. “Flaming Sword of Satan” is menacing and catchy, with a shout-along chorus and some mind-bending screams to keep things blackened.
Throughout the album, Impaled Nazarene’s refusal to compromise is beautifully captured in these short bursts of aural violence. The songs are very well wrought, never suffering from a lack of focus or direction. Luttinen and company are scene veterans; their malice has grown along with their skill, resulting in pummeling detonations like “Pathological Hunger for Violence”, a tune to stomp heads to. The dynamic between blast beat and frenetic solo, shouted chorus and viciously spit verses is of the highest order. Title track “Vigorous and Liberating Death” builds from a very traditional, Mayhem-like black metal riff. The riffs build a wall of tension until drum fills break the dam onto the next portion of the song. “Drink Consultation” begins with the expected sound of a beer being cracked open and poured out. It is a punk/black metal anthem, for sure to become a fan favorite.
Making a statement similar to that of Reign in Blood, Impaled Nazarene do not need a lot of time to beat faces in with this new slab. Vigorous and Liberating Death is here to show the world how filthy punk and rancid black metal is meant to be played. There are few examples of this type of music in the world played as deliciously evil and professionally precise as that made by Impaled Nazarene. Unlike their other releases, though, this one is devoid of any songs with the word ‘goat’ in the title. Though there is sure to be some disappointment at the disturbing exclusion of goats, the album is extremely strong. Play fast, drink hard, and enjoy! CrypticRock gives this album 4.9 out of 5 stars. (.1 deduction for the lack of goats).