Impaled Nazarene – Vigorous and Liberating Death (Osmose)

Thursday, 17th April 2014
Rating: 8/10

Probably the most acidic of the Finnish quasi-black metal bands, Impaled Nazarene have enjoyed a career built upon consistency and the occasional bout of controversy. While some in the German market have incorrectly misconstrued their lyrical matter as being fascist (see: 2000’s Nihil), the band has rolled on, rarely making any sound alterations, yet remaining an appealing punk-angled entity on the Finnish extreme metal front. Vigorous and Liberating Death is the first outing in four years, a rather agile body of work in spite of the booze-smeared attitude and apocalypse-now lyrical bent.

As is the normally the case with Impaled Nazarene, the songs are kept concise, rife with blistering riff-action that trails the black median of their fantastic mid-90s days. The only difference is that the riffs don’t have much of a dark edge to them, instead amounting to hyper and ultra-sharp shards, like on the excellent opener “King Reborn,” “Flaming Sword of Satan,” and perhaps the most extreme number of the bunch, “Apocalypse Principle.” And when you blend in the vodka-kamikaze vocals of Mika Luttinen (who has fronted the band since their 1990 inception), on “Martial Law” and the bustling “Drink Consultation,” it’s reminder of how tried-and-true the band’s formula is. No real need to tinker, obviously.

Relative newcomers to Impaled Nazarene should lunge for 1993’s ultra-crass Ugra Karma, or 2001’s expertly-produced, steamrolling Absence of War Does Not Mean Peace. However, Vigorous and Liberating Death is no slouch, nor should anyone expect anything otherwise. The only real disappointment is that Luttinen and team opted against including a song with the word “Goat” in the song title. Guess that’s what next album is for.

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