Impaled Nazarene - Vigorous and Liberating Death - (8/10)
Published on March 23, 2014
Continuing Their Assault…
Vigorous and Liberating Death sees Impaled Nazarene doing the same thing that they’ve done since their inception in 1990: belting out an album full of fiery, punk-infused black metal. If you’ve heard any of Impaled Nazarene’s albums then you should know what to expect here, as they aren’t a group to eschew their chosen path in favor of experimentalism or progression. Despite countless lineup changes throughout their history, vocalist Mika Luttinen, has managed to consistently bring members into the fold that have kept his style unchanged.
Although the band’s entire catalog showcases a linear path of unhinged, fast paced black metal, Impaled Nazarene’s twelfth full length album would fit perfectly alongside fan favorites such as Suomi Finland Perkele and All That You Fear. With this album, Impaled Nazarene does not pull any punches. Right from the moment your finger presses play your face is repeatedly assaulted with burning black metal until it completely melts off at the end and leaves you an unrecognizable lump. There are no spooky interludes or atmospheric ditties; just punishing black metal in its purest form. Frankly, you could pick any track on here and have your ears assaulted with the same ferocity and intensity as the next, but I’ll highlight a few to drive the point home. “Flaming Sword of Satan” utterly kills with its stomping, chugging, axes swinging rhythm while “Martial Law” and “Vestal Virgins” bulldoze you with fast paced punk rhythms and snarling swagger. The rest of the album follows suit, with everything being fast paced, with constant double bass and blastbeats fronted by Luttinen’s snarled screams. I know that Impaled Nazarene have attempted to distance themselves from the black metal scene of late, but Vigorous and Liberating Death is truly a black metal album.
This album is blasting, blistering and unholy, but it has its share of missteps. First off, “Pathological Hunger for Violence” shows the guitarists messing with wanky solos that don’t fit in with the maniacal pacing and driving rhythms. I know it’s a nitpicky qualm, but man those goofy solos just made me completely lose my focus every time I heard them. Obviously the band knows how to incorporate leads with their brand of black metal, as evidenced during “Dystopia A.S.” which shows the leads flowing with the rest of the music rather than starkly opposing it. “Martial Law” also slides off with an out of place bass break, which starts out cool enough but just winds up with a head scratching moment. The artwork does herald the band’s earlier albums, especially Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz…, with its twisted, evil design, but how the hell did the skeletons manage to keep certain appendages which are primarily made of tissue and blood vessels when the rest of their have bodies rotted away? Another one of life’s mysteries, I guess.
Vigorous and Liberating Death is a worthy addition to the Impaled Nazarene discography. If you dig any of the band’s earlier material, then surely you will find this album to your liking. The production is meaty and allows the blistering material to shine through. I have to give props to Mika Luttinen for his unwavering approach to black metal that has endured this long. While this is a great example of punk-infused, blasting, blistering, no hold barred black metal, the same could be said for the band’s entire discography. This blatantly bowls over a large majority of black metal in today’s scene and it’s impressive that Luttinen’s formula is just as potent today as it was in 1990. So Vigorous and Liberating Death is a good album as far as Impaled Nazarene albums go, but the same could be said for the band’s other eleven albums.