Review Summary: Impaled provide what should have been the blueprint for goregrind to come.
Impaled's influence on the goregrind scene has fallen in recent years after a slew of average releases that failed to compete adequately with genre partners Exhumed
and that didn't fall into line with the increasingly prevalent technical style of death-grind purveyed by Cattle Decapitation
and Cephalic Carnage
that gained momentum through the early 2000s. Both Death After Life
and The Last Gasp
had moments that showed the band's potential, but were less consistent and effective than the band's earlier works, especially the highlight of their discography, Mondo Medicale
Mondo Medicale doesn't really mess around too much at any point when it comes to portraying the band's hardly unique but fully realized form of goregrind. The largely instrumental intro track The Hippocritic Oath
indicates immediately both the group's speedy riffs and extensive use of melodic riffs and leads, but it's Dead Inside
that properly shows what to come, with its fuller length revealing the crisp and tight drum patterns found elsewhere more completely and giving the genre staple blast beats their time. Vocalist/guitarists Andrew LaBarre and Sean McGrath also get a proper opportunity to show their deep growls and Jeff Walker esque mid range shouts. Raise Your Stakes
also gives a heavy focus on their reasonable lead chops to be found elsewhere on the album; whilst not exceptional, their solos are decent and get the job done.
It's not big surprise that the band really finds their momentum when settling into either thrashier or more melodic territories. The aforementioned Raise Your Stakes
indicates this best and is the album's biggest highlight with sections that show up most melodic death metal bands with just how well the melody flows in respect to the rest of the song. Choke On It
's thrashy groove about halfway through its run time is another of the album's most memorable moments. Elsewhere, the album succeeds through having a fairly subtle but notably important feature, which is the very strong variation as to how each track starts: the Gothenburg esque start to To Die For
stands highly distinct to the grooves of Operating Theatre
or the rather cheesy extended intro to the excellent and fairly ambitious The Worms Crawl In
, for example. This, somewhat irrespective to the following features of the songs, allows the album to feel fresh throughout and varied enough to break up the overall simple musical agenda portrayed. The result is the album being excellently paced overall, whilst the fairly average album length of 43 minutes allows for both more extensive songs and for it not to overstay its welcome.
If Mondo Medicale has a particular weakness, it's the fact that it's not hugely ambitious with its style of melody, which is fairly similar across all the songs and rarely builds beyond a few mingling lines, but the aggressive backdrop of heavy grind riffs and blast beats prevents it from becoming a major issue for the album. With overall excellent pacing and more advanced song structures than on basically any other goregrind album, Mondo Medicale is one the genre's highest points and Impaled's masterpiece without a doubt.