The Chicago-based FOREST OF IMPALED return to the scene with their first full-length release in four years. “Rise And Conquer” offers much in the way of blaring rhythms and pristine production, particularly in the realm of vocal recording. Duane Timlin’s impressive drum work offers tight double bass syncopations and blast beats that extend for great periods of time, and vocalist Zion rivals the legendary Brett Hoffman with his intensity and overall projection. A few tracks venture into the Vampiric Goth element with predictable keyboard work and speaking passages, but in general fans of American Black Metal will favor the release and praise its many strengths.
Lyrically FOREST OF IMPALED deliver a more graphic hatred for Christianity than previous efforts, and an overall warrior theme dominates the release. While former albums offered direct praise for Satan the title track for this release depicts the moral majority “choking on their words.” Other tracks refer to overtaking the throne, casting out despair, and several songs define the charismatic traits of valiant leader.
“Nil Desperandum” offers a pleasant digression into a slower and more melodic feel, while surrounding tracks “Cleansing Ablaze” and “Blessed Are We” deliver the release’s strongest and most engaging efforts. These compositions rival moments of MALEVOLENT CREATION’s “Retribution” as the artists make intentional use of tactical blast beats while continually expanding the principle riffs to broaden their overall impact. “Beyond All” contains an interesting but short-lived breakdown toward its conclusion while “Take The Throne” dominates the release in terms of speed and intensity. “Take The Throne” will receive favor among those who like their Black Metal free of keyboard interference and their vocals straight from the back of the throat.
“Rise And Conquer” marks a positive turn for FOREST OF IMPALED. Their lyrics contain far more imagery than previous efforts. The guitars have catchy hooks and remain fast as Hell, and all in all the release offers a plethora of solid riffs. Most importantly, the keyboards stay where they should be – in the background and almost nonexistent. Combining these efforts with one of the better growlers in the business, FOREST OF IMPALED seem intent to embark on new ground. I look forward to hearing what directions the band may take on their next couple of releases.
(Online May 19, 2007)