Thirteen years ago, gore-grind band Impaled released their first album, The Dead Shall Dead Remain. Since that initial pressing, the album has been unavailable to fans because of legal disputes over ownership. The only chance to hear it was to buy an original copy.
To work around that problem, Impaled have re-recorded their debut album as The Dead Still Dead Remain. This does away with legal hurdles and allows the band to improve on the performance and production of the original. Recorded and mixed by Vinnie Wojno (Testament), the new recording “simply sounds better” according to guitarist Jason Kocol.
The Dead Still Dead Remain stays musically faithful to the original and also features the return of vocalist Leon del Muerte, who says, “it was like the last thirteen years of backstabbing and spitefulness never happened!” With updated cover artwork in the spirit of the original, The Dead Still Dead Remain resurrects a long lost work of the gore-grind genre.
If you visualize the modern death metal genre as a knightly tournament with splendid banners adorning the tents of the contestants on an ancient Briton field, you can’t escape the prominence of the progressive camp espoused by Necrophagist and the obscure evil camp belonging to hairy South Americans and occult woodland Finns. Then there are the loved and the hated “brutals”. The unfortunate Morgue Supplier goes all the way to the leaden territory of mechanized grindcore, brutal blastbeat and convulsive gore that is best epitomized by Cryptopsy’s and Cannibal Corpse’s groundbreaking albums Blasphemy Made Flesh and The Bleeding (or your favorite other pick from that mostly dubious discography). The speed is astounding, the songs careen through slashes of riffs like the beak of a vulture on the prowl, injecting pinch harmonics into mono chord chug while vocals are the dual growl-and-shriek statement we have heard enough times in this beaten substyle. A couple of minor gems arise though. The cover version of Metallica’s “Fight Fire By Fire” is an entertaining lecture on the genealogy of early speed metal and how it almost by itself mutates to something close to Possessed or Sepultura if played with intensity, distortion and malevolent speeds. On the side, the title track Constant Negative has a smudged enough texture to operate as a chasm of interlocking layers similar to Gorguts’ fusionesque work on the mighty Obscura. Perhaps a hint where brutal death metal might develop if given enough care and attention? I personally could do without the mosh parts, but those who were disappointed by the wimping out of Cryptopsy should perhaps check this release out.