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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Impaled

Mondo Medicale

Review by Mike Korn

We put a lot of trust in our physicians. In the hands of these skilled healers we place our very well-being and good health, trusting in their knowledge and better instincts. But what if that faith is misplaced? What safeguards do we poor patients have if our doctors are less than trustworthy? What indeed would happen if an entire cabal of physicians was to go violently and hopelessly insane? The fine surgeons of Impaled suggest one possible answer. Their album "Mondo Medicale" imagines a world where hospitals become horror chambers, and every helpless patient becomes a plaything. It's not a pretty sight, but then, this is death metal we are talking about here.

Impaled kicked off their gory career as basically a mediocre imitation of Carcass, the legendary forefathers of splatter-oriented death metal. With "Mondo Medicale", they are still following in the footsteps of Carcass but they have "kicked everything up a notch", as TV chef Emeril Lagasse is fond of saying. The songwriting is stronger, the production is much better, the intricate guitar work shines and the record's lyrics rise above mere mindless gore to ponder questions of medical ethics. You can find strong melodies in almost every track, but the pace is definitely extremely fast and the alternating guttural and raspy vocals (another trademark of Carcass) won't let you soon forget that this is very violent death metal.

Overlooking the obvious fact that Impaled is aping Carcass, "Mondo Medicale" is in fact a very strong release and highly recommended to fans of ripping death metal. Set up your appointment with these fellows soon. Just remember...the cure may be worse than the disease...

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2002 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Hippocritic Oath
An ominous piano intro similar to the "Halloween" theme soon gives way to a guitar arpeggio and the mad narration of a physician who despises his patients. "I say, the greatest sickness of all is named Man and it needs to be excised like a boil. I say...kill them all." That leads to a growling roar and some fast death picking with melodic guitar hooks over the top.
Dead Inside
Hideous gurgling vocals and frantic pounding blast beats kick this one off. Soon the more raspy tones of Andrew Labarre enter the fray. This baby is fast and morbid. It features some great mid-paced riffs in the mid-section. You can really hear that Impaled have mastered their craft pretty well.
Raise the Stakes
This one is still fairly quick but not the complete blast of "Dead Inside". They can lay a tasty solo over brutal rhythms in the best tradition of not only Carcass but also Megadeth. There's a clever tip of the hat to gore pioneers Rigor Mortis in the lyrics. The tune really moves very smoothly through a wide variety of good riffs.
Operating Theatre
This tells the sick tale of surgeons who torture their unanesthetized patients in front of laughing, clapping colleagues. Think about this one the next time you go in for a little tune-up. The track is actually one of the catchiest on display. "It's not the audience/but you we've left in stitches!"
Choke On It
Not a cover of the Death classic, this really reminds me of prime old death metal in the early 90's tradition. It's extremely fast without being grindcore and has a pretty catchy chorus. This features some of Ross Sewage's most sickening growls.
We Belong Dead
What can I say? Here's another one that could have fit on Carcass' "Necroticism" album with no problem. The way they weave memorable riffs and vocal patterns is noteworthy.
The Worms Crawl In
The sounds of maggots munching an unthinkable meal starts this one in horrific fashion. The track features some of the most hilariously sick lyrics I've ever heard and I only wish I could relate some of them here, but good taste forbids me from doing so. The guitar work is definitely more melodic, though there's still a morbid feel to the music. The tunes are starting to sound pretty similar, but the energy level and general musical competency keeps things from sinking.
To Die For
A gory pathological love story is what this is all about. A serial killer goes on an orgy of slaughter to impress his sick Gothic girlfriend - touching stuff. The tune itself is a little bit slower than the rest of the material. It's one of the more average cuts. It just doesn't linger in the head like some of the others.
Rest In Faeces
A charming tale of an incompetently run graveyard, this is uncomfortably close to what happened at that crooked funeral home in Georgia. There's lots of twin guitar harmonies here and more catchy Carcass-style riffs. The dueling guitar solos at the end could almost be off a Satriani album.
Carpe Mortem
The record ends with this slower instrumental. First we get a long monologue as a team of mad doctors describe their latest hideous operation as we hear the screams and thoughts of their helpless victim. Over his final shrieks, we get some heavy and chugging riffs kind of reminding me of Metallica's "Orion".
 
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