Eight Headed Serpent
Review by Felix on April 19, 2021.
In the past, when you asked your grandfather for old stories, you usually heard something about the war. That wasn't nice, but it was somehow exciting. You couldn't even imagine that there had once been a war… If I ever have grandchildren and they ask me about the past, what should I say? “Impaled Nazarene used to make good records.” Oh, my grandchildren will think, not nice, not very exciting either. And they won't be able to imagine it.
Impaled Nazarene have always wished for nuclear war in previous interviews. Maybe they should have done a test run in their rehearsal room. We would have been spared Eight Headed Serpent if they had simply disappeared into their own nuclear cloud. Not to mention all the other albums since 1994, which never again even remotely reached the level of Ugra-Karma. Since this milestone split skulls almost perfectly, there is of course a lot of room for deterioration and the fact that full-length number 13 can't compete with it doesn't mean it has to be a total flop. But the disc is not good either.
Roughly, the record can be broken down into three parts. Starting from the back, part 1 consists of the last track, a dreary number that exceeds the 5-minute mark as an end in itself to stretch the material to over half an hour. Before that is part 2, which consists of nothing but wild bludgeoning. Finally, part 3 consists only of the infantile intro. But probably there is a high quality artistic note behind "oral sex demons" screams, which unfortunately remains hidden from a dumbass like me.
I beg your pardon? Yes, you're right, I went over part 2 of the record a bit very quickly. Wild bludgeoning is actually not a bad thing. The problem is that Impaled Nazarene are not able to enrich it with grandiose riffs or lines. They also don't know what they want to play. 'The Nonconformists' sounds like speed metal with a bad singer and 'Human Cesspool' is driven by a punky bass line, while other tracks offer a crude, often uninspired mix of black, thrash and hardcore. 'Shock And Awe' has something similar to a good guitar melody, but this line evaporates within two seconds after the song ends. But back to the big picture. The uniformity, the simplicity and the unimaginativeness of the compositions from number one to number thirteen break the album's neck. I admit that 'Metastasizing And Changing Threat' is well done, because besides comprehensible guitar runs, there are also beginnings of an atmosphere, without the hardness level being reduced for that.
But it's all too little, too late. With their concentrated clumsiness and pseudo-provocative behaviour, Impaled Nazarene will have a hard time inspiring many people for their music. Or will they succeed after all? Maybe Eight Headed Serpent is simply a polarising masterpiece and I'm just at the wrong end of the scale. In any case, I don't like much here, not even the lumpy production, which underlines the monotony of the material. At least one can respect that the Finns do not move (again) towards commercialism with this release. But that would also have been a betrayal of the idea of nuclear war.
Rating: 5.5 out of 10618
Review by Michael on April 15, 2021.
Impaled Nazarene are back! After seven years they managed to record once again a new studio album called Eight Headed Serpent. That's what I call a pretty long creative break - let's see if the long wait was worth it, because I must honestly say that the last albums couldn't convince me 100% due to their relative monotony.
First of all, let's take a look at the external features, i.e. the cover. Here you can find the typical trademarks of the band, gas masks and the nuclear symbol. In the gas masks there are dried up goat heads, very stylish. Also the lettering of the band has not changed, so far you can conclude that nothing has changed here. Good! By the way, the cover was designed by Ritual, who was also responsible for other artwork of the band (e.g. Pro Patria Finlandia).
Musically, we start with 'Goat Of Mendes' with Monika Lewinsky memories from the White House or something like that and then the party starts. High-speed thumping, as we are used to from the last albums, there is no moment to pause, only in the last third of the song the track becomes a bit catchier. The title track sounds a little less bulky, although it is jammed through with full speed, but the melodies are more recognizable and I personally find the bassline pretty cool. 'Shock And Awe' reminds me of the bass of old Sodom in the style of "Never Healing Wound". 'The Nonconformists' and 'Octagon Order' are the first real surprise on the album, the songs sound like old albums á la Latex Cult. Very punky and very casual the whole thing! 'Debauchery And Decay' brings back memories of Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz times through Mika's screams at the beginning, then a riff is brought out that could have been on 'Absence Of War Does Not Mean Peace'. Oh and there is a Celtic Frost-Ugh too!!! In the further course songs from the different creative periods of the band mix. Another song that stands out is 'Triumphant Return Of The Antichrist', here memories of 'Soul Rape' are awakened when Mika roars the chorus. Another trip far into the past is 'Unholy Necromancy', where even deeper demonic grunting is presented.
As a conclusion the band drifts into epic doom realms and presents us with 'Foucault Pendulum' one of the slowest songs the band has ever written besides 'Quasb / The Burning'. Regarding the production, the band presents (as on their previous works) an extremely powerful and well-produced album. Thumbs up for this.
It remains to be said that Impaled Nazarene, in my opinion, have found their way back to their old strength by skillfully combining old stylistic elements with newer song structures. I think that with Eight Headed Serpent they can also convince many fans who can not do so much with the newer albums. Horns up for the new album, let's hope we can see Impaled Nazarene on tour soon!!!
Rating: 9.5 dried goat heads of 10618