Impaled Nazarene - _Nihil_
(Osmose, 2000)
by: Paul Schwarz (8 out of 10)
Maturity, musically or personally, is not something you'd think would fit Impaled Nazarene. Despite progressing through various successive mutations of sound and line-up, there has always been an exuberance -- even more than this, a downright dirty punky, spiteful rage which, however subdued it may have been at some points by average songwriting or poor production, was always lingering, and in many cases leaping forth to deliver a good sound, drunken kicking. And though the aforementioned attribute (maturity) has now begun to permeate Impaled Nazarene's sound, courtesy almost certainly of the contributions of now-second guitarist Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho (ex-Children of Bodom), they are still an excessively punk, heavy and metal band. _Nihil_ stands head and shoulders above the band's last _Rapture_ [CoC #32] effort in terms of production and songwriting. The drunken punk fury, be it in the style's original musical form or merely the -fury- manifested as grindcore or black metal, shows no sign of abating, and this does the band credit, but what is possibly more impressive are the enriching contributions of Laiho. For while Impaled Nazarene have always had the potential to give tracks like "Cogito Ergo Sum" or "Human-Proof" the impact that they do, they have never before made that impact as exuberantly and forthrightly heavy metal as it is on _Nihil_. Never have I heard solos or melody, however vague, be as efficiently and effectively combined into an Impaled Nazarene album. Whatever disparaging cries they might prompt from the back row about not being as "nuclear" as before, the fact stands that Impaled Nazarene have pulled off progression, once again, with a degree of style rarely seen in metal bands, be they black or otherwise.

(article published 5/25/2000)


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