Ravage & Conquer

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After committing to a single, 40-minute long "track" on 2011's Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny, Singaporean metal extremists Impiety returned to composing shorter, regulation-sized songs for their eighth studio album, 2012's Ravage & Conquer, but it's not like these decisions had a discernible effect on the band's well-established sound. Whether they're blasting away at five-minute scorchers such as "The Scourge of Majesty," "War Crowned," and title cut, or extending the torment through the eight-minute mark on "Revelation Decimation, "Weaponized," or "Legacy of Savagery," Impiety never abandon their brutally busy compositional M.O. All of the above, but with slight variations, cram their blackened death metal carcasses with heatedly hoarse cries, relentlessly changing riff architectures, and blinding cascades of hyperactive percussion placed conspicuously up front in the mix. But, like a version of Brazilians Krisiun working with a slightly smaller toolkit, Impiety often struggle to elevate their ever formidable instrumental interplay to a level of songwriting that will stick with the listener once they crawl beyond range of the group's devastating assault. Sure, Impiety's somewhat less atonal solo breaks occasionally help the cause, but only the aforementioned title cut stands out from the bunch, with its quasi-symphonic black metal fanfares (others, like "Weaponized" and "War Crowned" merely run tiresome rings around themselves). Another knock on Ravage & Conquer comes courtesy of its paltry six new compositions, which are cunningly incremented by a regurgitated 1993 obscurity named -- snort! -- "Salve the Goat" and a rather solid cover of Bathory's "Sacrifice." But then, the band is probably still recuperating from the exertions of concocting that album-length song last time out. In any case, Impiety won't be rewriting the extreme metal playbook with Ravage & Conquer, but something tells us that setting it alight with hellish bonfires will do them just fine.

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