Artist: Impale the Betrayer
Album: A Breeding Ground for Monsters
Have you ever had a dream that was so real you could swear above all else that it was real? No matter how hard and how often you told yourself that “this is just a dream,” and “wake up, wake up, this is not real,” you just couldn’t be torn from it’s clutches. Seconds before your surreal moment of slaughter, the lights click on and you’re startled awake in a pool of sweat–no longer surrounded by the demons of your subconscious. Sound at all familiar? If it doesn’t, then perhaps the debut album by North Carolinian deathcore quintet Impale the Betrayer will serve as an adequate crash-course. A Breeding Ground for Monsters is a deliciously evil, crushingly brutal release which highlights the horrors of a world plunged into darkness. Packed with abysmally heavy breakdowns and grotesquely dark grooves, A Breeding Ground for Monsters is the sort of album that your nightmares have wet dreams about.
Like every dream gone wrong, A Breeding Ground for Monsters starts off deceptively still. Ambience takes the listener by the hand and guides them innocently into a placid, calm setting. This feeling of stagnancy and serenity lasts mere seconds, as the introductory track “The Breeding Ground” turns into just that–a breeding ground for an album’s worth of soul-sucking, spine-smashing brutality. “The Breeding Ground” archetypically displays Impale the Betrayer’s penchant for straightforward, pull-no-punches heaviness. Laced with a dynamically fretted lead at a slight groove, this breakdown is like many others found throughout the album: a surreptitiously delightful amalgam of tastefully played and perfected elements. From the instrumentation to the vocals, A Breeding Ground for Monsters is packed with several highs and relatively few lows
Instrumentally, at it’s worst, A Breeding Ground for Monsters is simply standard fare for the genre. Even at their lowest moments, Impale the Betrayer offer incredibly solid instrumentation comprised of solid, machine-gun style blast beats and grinding-gnashing guitars which dive to heavy, crushing breakdowns from sly, smooth grooves. However, at their highest, Impale the Betrayer offer a culmination of technically stunning and marvelously heavy elements. Among the best of them is the bass tone–something not often a highlight of “core” offerings of any color. However, tracks like “The Dead Will Walk the Earth” and “Torn Abomination” offer stylistically perfect tremolo leads with a popping, sliding and grooving bass tone that just won’t quit. These are layered delicately over skin-tearing drum patterns that are incessantly pummeling and brutalizing the listener. Moments like the opening breakdown on “The Dead Will Walk the Earth” especially feel like a culmination of brilliant tone and songwriting akin to watching the stars align.
Guiding the instruments through A Breeding Ground for Monsters’ nightmarish landscape are the vocals. Ranging from gut-wrenching lows to ear-shattering highs, there is a brilliant amount of vocal variety on the album to distract the listener from slight hints of instrumental monotony. While the lyrics occasionally falter–most noticeably at the meme-inspired breakdown in “Scum of the Earth”–they never are of true detriment to the song or album as a whole. Even as half-assed and cringe-worthy as “Scum of the Earth”’s “u mad bro” breakdown is, the actual instrumentation and heaviness behind it is still heart-pounding enough to get the blood flowing and the adrenaline pumping.
Covered in an icy sweat, you jolt upright, grasping at the cocoon of blankets you’ve ensnared yourself in. Was it a dream? Maybe it was real–maybe not. All you remember is blood–everywhere, and screams–all the time. A Breeding Ground for Monsters provides much the same sensation. At times, the album is so startlingly cohesive and magnificent that it feels like it might just be the product of your wildest dreams–no matter how crude and nightmarish the lyrics (and the story they tell) might be. While they are still a young band with a little growing up to do, Impale the Betrayer are no doubt talented enough to make even the most extreme of deathcore fanatics’ dreams come true.
For Fans Of: I Declare War, I Shot the Sheriff, Thy Art is Murder, The Acacia Strain
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism