REVIEW: Impuritan – Wrath [2023]

Artist: Impuritan
Album: Wrath

Ah, wrath, where would we be without it? Perhaps among the most fundamental and versatile of the seven deadly sins (if you’re into that kind of thing), wrath has a special place not only in the history of mankind, but in modern society—modern American society especially. It is ubiquitous—from entertainment to politics and social strife and more, it permeates just about every aspect of the human existence and condition these days. Despite it being everywhere you look, practically baked into the food you eat and aromas you smell, there are few demonstrations of poignant, distilled aggression done so deliberately and intensely as the debut full length record by West Tennessee deathcore warriors Impuritan, aptly and simply titled Wrath. Over a half hour of horrendously heavy, hellish deathcore awaits the listener as Wrath kicks off, highlighting that when it comes to infusing traditional, late-2000s deathcore with modern groove and the finest in contemporary production, few do it as well as Impuritan.
There is not a single ounce of kindness in Wrath—none—and this is as true of the vocal element as it is of the sprawling, sinister instrumentation that serves as its scaffolding. Built on drumming that oscillates triumphantly between machine-gun, skin-splitting blast beats to beefy, bold and groove-heavy kick drum patterns, the band’s drumming is its heart beat, and the engine that carries their LP to victory. “Bound in Misery,” as well as album introduction “Child Eater” highlight this beautifully, as do they highlight the interplay between riff-heavy, dynamic fretwork and the band’s bustling percussion. “Plague of Existence” is another cunning example—this time feeling slightly more contemporary with its heaping helping of grizzly, gyrating groove that underscores quick blasts and raunchy, ruthless breakdowns. Here, a thick and sturdy bass bolsters the band’s low, lurid guitars, adding heft and density without making the mix feel heavy or unwieldily. “Dead End” is another track that sees the band take a backbone of traditional deathcore and infuse a near-lethal dose of mid-2010s downtempo into its structure, punctuating the song with crushing, dissonant breakdowns that shine a brilliant light on the band’s ability to be musically diverse within their genre while still creating an album that is instrumentally smooth and cohesive. Here, the drums are bouncy and catchy, while low, slow guitars immure the listener in layers of grime. Impuritan spend all of Wrath in this way—finding new ways to bludgeon the listener to within an inch of their life and well-being, wasting no time on ambience or manners.
Where Wrath is an instrumental menace, it is, vocally speaking, doubly so. Impuritan’s prominent vocal prowess is a significant part of what gives the band a nostalgic, turn of the decade (but like…two decades ago) feel without nostalgia becoming their entire shtick. Songs like “Bound in Misery,” a personal favorite, see shrill high screams and gut busting bellows dominating, sounding something akin to the late Mitch Lucker. “Dead End” sees a vocal approach more fixated on the mid-and-low end, while “Mouth of the Void” is, once more, a varied and dynamic experience. The take-home here is variety without an obnoxious degree of vocal wankery or showboating—another way in which the band capture a vaguely nostalgic aura. A great majority of Wrath is home to stunning range and variety without any overdone vocal gimmick, which keeps the listener from getting too focused on standalone moments and more able to soak in the release in its entirety. Plus, it furthers the capacity in which the vocals can intermingle with the instrumentation that supports them, showing the two elements truly work in excellent-yet-eviscerating harmony.
2023 is an incredible time for heavy music—especially for deathcore. On one hand, we have bands innovating and pushing the contemporary limits of the genre, while on the other, we have some of the genre’s biggest names and heavyweights continuing to contribute. On a third, slightly mutated but all-important hand, we have a resurgence of Deathcore’s truly traditional sound, spearheaded by bands like Psycho-Frame, Tactosa and more. It’s hard to say where Impuritan fit in—as they confidently straddle the excellent production and songwriting of contemporary deathcore with the flow, energy and aggression of the genre’s more traditional counterpart—but the point is that they embody deathcore to its…well, uh, core. The band are the very definition of ruthlessness, which makes their album Wrath incredibly and suitably named. At this point in the year, deathcore has been back, but its bands like Impuritan that make it so much more exciting.

For Fans Of: Oceano, Suicide Silence, SPITE, Psycho-Frame, Bodysnatcher
By: Connor Welsh