Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Impurity - Promo 2009 [DEMO] (2009)

Though the first impulse would be to think of Impurity as a young death metal act, they are in fact pretty experienced, forming in 1999 and having already issued an EP in 2003 and full-length album Of Lust and War a few years ago. The sounds there were simplistic and old school in the vein of Bolt Thrower, Malevolent Creation, Morbid Angel, Deicide, and perhaps a little older Suffocation, and to a large extent they have continued this formula for their new promo release, but with a more impressive, ripping guitar tone and a tangible evolution in the vocals, which now mete out gore soaked guttural wrenching and haggish snarls in a reasonable proximity.

The band's lyrical focus appears for the promo appears to be mythological and fantasy warfare, thus perfect for your Warhammer sessions or whatever computer or tabletop genocides you fill the empty hours with. This also mirrors the band's Bolt Thrower influence, for the steadily thundering double-bass, blasting, and carnage grinding primal guitar rhythms are the stuff of battlefields saturated in the vitae and viscera of colliding forces. One can easily imagine himself slaughtering an opposing horde, standing knee deep in their entrails and scanning the still raging violence about him while Damian Scott's vocals roar across the sky, a portent to the never-ending slaughter-cycle landscape. Frankly, there are just not enough bands pushing this thematic material in the pure death metal field, so fanatics of the more contemporary war/death metal Dutchmen Hail of Bullets take note, or perhaps Jungle Rot, or the somewhat obscure Indiana band Invasion.

Impurity are not out to bore you here, merely offer a sampling of their weaponry, so the promo consists of only 4 tracks at under 12 minutes. The "Prologue" here is very nice, truly getting you in the mood for the trampling to follow. It's something you might expect to hear on the opening screen for a World of Warcraft expansion, or a tense moment in some grim film or game where the smoke rises from a scarred panorama of bloodshed. It's followed by "Carnal Bane", a chugger that feels like a tank slowly creeping down hill until it enters the theater of warfare, upon which the blasting and hacking ensue. Spurts of lead madness, nonstop grinding guitars and the dense subtext of booming cannon chords truly place you in the midst of the action. "From Battle to Legend" does one better, with a killer old school, simple rhythm across some busy kit work, lapsing back and forth through several tempos as Scott delivers some of his stronger higher pitched snarls. There's also a decent, forceful guitar melody around 1:20 in the track where you can really hear the war-bass strumming. "The Tundra" offers a few more thrashing rhythms, with a stop/start chug-to-blast segment that reminds the listener this is still American death metal, but it too eventually settles on a strong, if simple thrusting melody that howls across the war zone, and a nice lead section.

There are not a lot of bullet holes in the armor of Impurity, and the two I can think of apply to a great many bands of today playing old school death metal. For one, the band is not entirely original, with a lot of riffs which bear semblance to many the veteran has already heard, including those on the list of influences above. But who really is these days? At least this band has the imagination to offer up great lyrical matter to accompany the bludgeoning. I would also love to hear more out of the guitarists. The riffs they perform here are solid enough to match the grim themes of the style, but the note selection could always benefit from a shift away from the predictable towards some truly terrifying patterns cast an even gloomier shadow on the din of every soul being separated from its empty, bloodied husk.

But outside of this, I'll take Impurity over a great number of awful, dime a dozen US slam death blitzcore acts who simply chug chug squeal and think that's all it is going to take to rock a mic. This is a solid demo with immediate appeal for fans of simple death metal dipped in the forge of hellish warfare, and if the band could tighten up, maybe sprinkle a few more interesting riffs across the top of their grinding center, and put out a full-length of equal or better quality, that would be something to behold. I'll start assembling my foodstuffs and supplies and digging out my bunker for the day this happens.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10] (bereft of love for mortal life)

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