Originally written by Justin Bean.
Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, you certainly know the album art: intestines curled into pus-covered piles or hanging from the mouth of a toilet (probably filled with watery feces). Or perhaps a demonic doctor staring down on you with scalpel in hand moments before he commits what could only be called grotesque medical malpractice. Ring a bell? If not, the imagery should give you an idea of what sort of death metal is being dealt with here. Impaled have been at the head of the pack in the gore scene for several years now, having established themselves with the impressive The Dead Shall the Dead Remain, an unreleased/demo compilation Choice Cuts, and then the more refined Mondo Medicale. On Death After Life Impaled continue their onslaught of filth and putrescence, this time backed by hard-hitters Century Media, with twelve tracks of their Carcass-style thrash riffs, periodic grind interludes, and everything else that comes along with their gritty sound.
Like gore co-conspirators Exhumed, on Death After Life, as with their previous releases, Impaled slide in frequent melodic interludes and bursts of technicality that add a unique dimension to their potentially sterile thrash/grind sound. Impaled’s musicianship doesn’t push any boundaries nor will it leave you awestruck, but it definitely gets the job done. Unfortunately, on Death After Life this musicianship can easily go undetected due to a substandard recording. On Mondo Medicale Impaled cleaned up their sound and honed the song writing, all of which has continued on Death After Life. Some of the speed has been dropped in favor of those aforementioned Carcass riffs a la Heartwork/Swansong, but the grind is never far off. The similarity between the vocals of Sean McGrath and Jeff Walker of Carcass borders on uncanny and paired with Impaled’s guitar work, the inspiration they’ve taken from Carcass over the course of this and their previous releases is hard to deny. This isn’t a bad thing, of course.
So, what we have here is Impaled doing their sometimes melodic, generally heavy gore routine, with a humorous S&M vocal track thrown in to boot, and plenty of other nastiness. Like I said, the recording isn’t great and some of the music gets lost amidst the fuzz and overall thinness, but if you’ve been an Impaled fan (or an Exhumed or Carcass fan) prior to this release, there’s a good chance you’ll take some joy from this album. And that makes you sick. But seriously, folks. The biggest disappointment is that with the Century Media backing the release more wasn’t done to help what has the potential to be a solid album.