It’s strange when what most people would consider a band’s essential albums are those that the band themselves have continually distanced themselves from. When you release a Black Metal album as simple and as furious as “Ugra-Karma,” do it better than your peers and then distance yourself from such overt Black Metal stylings on future releases, you can’t help but expect a certain backlash from the fans.
On the other hand, when IMPALED NAZARENE changed they still delivered much of what characterised their frenzied beginnings with no let up on ferocity or extremity. The Crust Punk tinges to “Suomi Finland Perkele” was a different, but welcome development, but after that many fans, myself included, switched off as the band delivered somewhat stale and predictable, self-parodying material.
However, while little by little new elements were brought in and experimented with, like Classic Metal, Thrash and the aforementioned Crustcore, it’s only now that all makes sense. More overtly Thrash than ever before - like SODOM after a bag of speed, a turbocharger and fifty cups of coffee - “Pro Patria Finlandia” delivers an intense, entertaining and solid old-school Metal album, that keeps plenty of old-school Classic and Black Metal elements alike and continues to offer some fantastic cuts of unadulterated Punk.
While this is far from the return to their roots regarding their sound, it is the culmination of the return to the roots of those whom they are inspired by. Taking the basic old-school formula and injecting a speed and a clarity of production, hitherto unheard, the potential brutality of this style has been significantly advanced. If you’ve enjoyed their post-“Suomi Finland Perkele” wanderings, then you may find this better than the band have been in years. More importantly however, is that if you’ve ignored this band for a while, now could be the time to come back to the fold of Satan and goat sodomy. (Online May 10, 2006)