Impaled

Death After Life

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    6
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Impaled's Death After Life opens with a snappy, synth-driven introduction reminiscent of B-movie parodies like The Man With Two Brains or Re-Animator -- just one of numerous clever vignettes (others being "Theatre of Operations," "The Dead Shall Dead Remain") adding a little fun and humor to what, by any other measure, would be downright grotesque proceedings. Such is the nature of the band's stock and trade, however: a stomach-turning gore-death style established over the course of three increasingly disturbing and disgusting albums and EPs. Unfortunately, take away this bloody dressing, and the band's salad invariably turns out to be a little less than satiating. Although rarely short of enthusiastic aggression or clinical (pun intended) performance accuracy, tracks like "Wrought in Hell," "Resurrectionists" and "Critical Condition" nevertheless fail to take full possession of the listener's cranial lobe; and truly memorable, more inventive riff-fests such as the classic death-recalling "Gutless" or the insistently slicing "Dead Alive" prove to be exceptions, not the rule. Furthermore, one has to wonder if similarly middle-of-the-road offerings like the raging "Mondo Medicale" and "Medical Waste" are actually leftovers of the earlier albums bearing their names. It's impossible to know for sure, but, as Death After Life nears a close on yet another one of those amusing theatrical asides (the eerie "Coda Morte"), one feels that, were these and the band's unerringly gross lyrics to be amputated, Impaled's remains would be exposed as a limited and, heh-heh, incomplete death metal carcass.

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