Mondo Medicale

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The first thing to get out the way when you're talking about Impaled is, yes, they sound like Carcass (specifically, like a cross between Necroticism and Heartwork). Carcass had graphic, medically themed lyrics; Impaled has graphic, medically themed lyrics. Carcass' vocals traded off between high and low growls, and so do Impaled's. (In fact, high-pitched growler Sean McGrath is a dead ringer for Carcass' Jeff Walker.) And, most importantly, both play/played hard-rocking death metal that emphasizes songwriting and melody as much as it does grind and heaviness. With that out of the way (and acknowledging that Impaled is not a complete client -- more on that later), the question is then not whether this is a groundbreaking, totally new album, but simply whether it is a well-put-together and enjoyable one. And the answer is yes. Standout songs such as "Raise the Stakes" and "Choke on It" are full of memorable riffs and guitar solos, and they do a great job of mixing up different rhythms: double-time thrashing, blastbeats, and straight-up rock & roll grooves. There are also some more Swedish-accented riffs (à la At the Gates or Dissection) which work well within this style. Impaled's emphasis on actually writing good songs is refreshing in an era where so many extreme metal bands overlooked this important aspect at the expense of being technical or "brutal." Impaled also has a great, sly sense of humor, most notable here in the hilariously deadpan intro monologue given by bassist Ross Sewage (which ties in with the album's whole evil doctor theme). In short, Mondo Medicale is a fine piece of work that will both please (and, of course, disgust) fans of good-old gory death metal.

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