The Celestial Dictator

Written by: AP on 07/09/2017 16:12:55

Since releasing their début album, “Power Behind the Throne”, in 2013, Impalers have matured into a potent actor in Denmark’s thrash metal scene. Their politicised blend of Teutonic thrash and speed metal struck an instant chord with the home audience and that same year, the Haderslev-born band found itself performing at the iconic Copenhell festival, earning the adoration of many a critic for the uncompromising nature of their music and the intensity of their showmanship. Impalers wore both badges with pride on their excellent sophomore record, “Prepare for War”, whilst insinuating a desire to advance and even experiment with the rigid formula that characterised the début. For better or worse, that mindset is in full bloom on this third and latest outing, “The Celestial Dictator”, and the end product is unlikely to please all of the band’s disciples.

Wisely, the changes are not ushered in right off the bat though; the first three songs bring classic, blistering thrash with bulls**t factor zero — brutal shredding, squealing guitar solos, savage growls and gang shouts discharged at breakneck speed. The onslaught of “Terrorborn” is shocking even by the usual standard of Impalers’ ferocity, punching in with an apocalyptic shredded riff before it rips through your memory synapses with the audacious chorus:

I see the truth, see the world, see the sacrifices to me / see those who try to rule, and those who I envy / I am the icon of end times, I am the crown of thorns / I am the witness of man made horrors, (I am the witness!) I am terrorborn!

The track easily categorises as one of the most brazen and intense offerings from Impalers to date and the subsequent “Color Me White” does nothing to tone down the blitzkrieg. The song recalls the classic, “Show No Mercy”-era of Slayer, complete with an earsplitting howl let out by frontman Søren Crawack to announce its arrival, and in doing so, delivers what the band’s apostles have come to love and expect. As soon as the dust settles though, the pace slows down, distortion is lowered and off Impalers go, searching for their own “Nothing Else Matters” within the balladry of “Into Doom”. But alas, the structure, dynamics and sound of this piece have so much in common with Metallica’s 1988 masterpiece, “One”, that it just ends up sounding like mimicry — and not a defining moment, as undoubtedly was the idea.

“Into Doom” is the first track on this record to witness Crawack poking at the purists by singing in a clean tone, but from then on, it becomes a central element in Impalers’ delivery. Both “Sun” and “Believe” pack the sort of choruses that would not feel misplaced on a Trivium record, and especially the former’s lyricism, too, resembles the writings of a certain Matt Heafy on “Ascendancy”: ”Feel the heat of the suuu-u-un! / See the truth of what we’ve become / Show the world that we caaa-a-an! / Clear the evil inside of man.”. The track before these two, “What is One”, is more in the vein of Anthrax, aggressive yet uplifting and with that old-school way of almost shouting the words; it contributes variety to Impalers’ palette, but without compromising too much on the band’s forte, which is to churn out scalding Teutonic thrash by the book. Both of the other two aforementioned songs bristle with intensity as well, but at every onset of their sing-song passages, it feels like the wind gets punched out of them.

The good news is that the incursions into what is often dubbed ‘modern thrash’ constitute less than half of the running length of “The Celestial Dictator”. Order is restored swiftly and severely by the title track, which ropes in technical, progressive and grandiose flavours to emerge as an absolute highlight, before the blackened thrasher “Antithesis” hammers the final nail, reminding us that in spite of pursuing other stylistic directions now, Impalers still remain one of the most ferocious metal acts that Denmark has to offer. But if the band’s grand ambition is to develop an unmistakable identity by experimenting and changing things up, it would serve them better to avoid dabbling in that most saturated of scenes, metalcore, too much. The band sounds much more convincing when putting their technical prowess to maximal use and writing material reminiscent of Dark Angel and even Vektor.


Download: Terrorborn, Color Me White, The Celestial Dictator
For the fans of: Dark Angel, Destruction, Sodom, Trivium
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.09.2017
Evil EyE Records

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