A horrible hack



Year Released: 2014
Format: LP
Label: Trabuc
Reviewed by Alex Hannan on Aug 13, 2015
Last year's "Psychedelic snutskallar" 12" saw the world catch on to the IMPALERS in a big way - they took their sound over the top, contrasting D-beat odysseys like the 11-minute title track with concise blasters. This LP collects tracks from their earliest days as a studio-based two-piece, drawing on the 2010 demo and 2011 7" for a romp through the most straightforward side of their sound.

Straight out of the gate they were blending a brutish pummelling with sly attention to detail, the demo constructing a stripped-down power-chord chassis, riffs straightforward but carefully phrased. It's restrained but powerful, and the guitar solos sprinkled here and there leave you in no doubt as to the skill behind it. Vocals howl away reverbed over the top, adding in the odd emphatic HURGH. Most of the songs run on as one piece, each count-in arriving on the feedback of the song before. Opener "Rabid transgressors" slips between a tupa-tupa beat and a more straightforward D-beat, the second guitar solo cutting suddenly away into the opening chord of "Wheel of pain," whose verse riff is one of those CIMEX-MOTORHEAD ideas that feels iconic and instantly familiar.

"Return to Eden" relaxes the frantic pace a little for a slouching, sneering mid-paced number. You get the impression that the guitarist in particular just has the style nailed and is incapable of writing a boring riff - the kinds of idea that are about 90% stuff you've heard before, but with that understanding that if you tweak the final 10% just right it turns into an earworm. Finally IMPALERS kick it into high speed to end with the shortest, most straightforward and fastest songs of the demo.

Energy levels remain ferocious on the 7", but it's not quite on the same level as the demo - there are fewer original twists in the songwriting, so less distraction from derivativeness in the riffs. Not to say that there aren't still some cracking songs - "Blasts for days" being the highlight. It makes sense to package this era of the band together, and this is a cool summary of IMPALERS' early years.

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