Impaled Nazarene

All That You Fear

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Impaled Nazarene is not the sort of band that typically ages well. Early in their career, they were known for being wild, unpredictable, and generally insane -- they were an extreme band within an already extreme genre. A decade into their career, they're still plugging away, and they've found a happy medium between evolving creatively and keeping their deranged instincts in place. Their sound is still a bastard mix of black metal, Motörhead-influenced biker rock, and Discharge-like hardcore, and the lyrics cover a familiar range of topics: death, suicide, hopelessness, religion, pain, and suffering. But unlike many bands that trot out these same themes, Impaled Nazarene -- or at least vocalist Mika Luttinen -- seems genuinely consumed by them. His delivery is convincing to the point that one fears for his mental health. Far from being a freak show, though, the band balances out the grim lyrics with consistently catchy riffs and memorable songs, and the melodic lead guitar work on songs such as "The Endless War" and "Suffer in Silence" adds another welcome dimension. This is not the primitive, crusty black metal of Impaled Nazarene's early days, which purists will no doubt prefer, and honestly, the production is glossier than it needs to be. Still, this is a strong album from a band that has showed more staying power than most people would have predicted.

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