IMPELLITTERI - Nature Of The Beast
It’s hard to believe that Impellitteri has been kicking out melodic shred metal albums since 1987! Equally astonishing is that despite all those incredibly high quality works, the average metal fan still doesn’t know that Chris Impellitteri is one of the most gifted and skilled guitarists in the world at what he does. While the style really hasn’t changed much over the years, the quality of Chris’s music has matured in excellence – this partly due to his commitment to constantly improving and partly due to the help of the musicians he has been working with for years (Rob Rock, James Pulli and Ed Roth). Glen Sobel (drums) moved on years ago to work with Alice Cooper, so John Dette took over on 2015’s Venom, an album which featured a lot of speedy rockers and no ballads. Fans of Venom will be pleased that Nature Of The Beast follows suit, but takes things to a higher level with a bit more intensity, diversity and stronger lyrical contributions from Rob Rock.
Remember when metal was fun? When it didn’t take so much effort to learn the hooks or discern the lyrics. When you could just plop the needle on the vinyl or pop the CD in and press PLAY and then let the head-banging commence, sometimes singing at the top of your lungs? In a way, an album like this is a bit of an anomaly in the digital era and the contemporary age of musical construction because the emphasis is on straight-up skillful playing and melodic singing (rather than a lot of studio gimmickery and manipulation) – one shred-filled song after another in glorious succession. Chris sounds as though he is still just a kid (at heart) tearing it up in his basement or garage – the youthful enthusiasm mixed with well-honed muscle memory still a glory to behold. Similarly, Rob Rock still has that timeless voice (no cracks of age) of melodic metal and I think he has written some really good lyrics this time around, reminiscent of the masterful Wicked Maiden. Fair to say, at this point in their careers, they have defied the laws of nature (of aging).
Of course, don’t be misled, this sounds nothing like the Impellitteri debut or Stand In Line from the 80’s – there are some modern production tools employed here (vocals) and we do have Ed Roth contributing keyboards on the cover track “Phantom Of The Opera” (Andrew Lloyd Weber version). The mixing (Greg Reely) and mastering is another area where Chris and Rob continue to improve over the years, so these tunes sound great at volume. The fast paced-double bass drum style dominates these songs so fans of power metal should be satiated. There are 10 original compositions and then the Black Sabbath cover of “Symptom Of The Universe” (a song which fits in well with the themes here), in addition to the “Phantom” cover. Also, I do believe this is the longest duration release from these guys to date. Most of them have been about 40 minutes or less, but this one tops them all at 50 minutes!
As could be surmised from the title of the album, the lyrical themes deal with the nature of man’s condition (“Masquerade” and “Do You Think I’m Mad”), the nature of the world in which we live today (“Run For Your Life,” “Gates of Hell” and “Wonder World”) as well as the nature of the one who is the ruler of this world (“Hypocrisy” and “Kill The Beast”). Not all is gloom and doom, however, as there are some absolutely triumphant songs here, like the battle anthem “Man Of War” which is a tribute to those who lay down their lives (or are willing to do so) for their faith and country. “Fire It Up” is an epically fast-paced and motivational song to stand strong and persevere.
“I’m alive when I’m keeping the faith/I’m alive, when I’m serving my brothers/”I’ll keep fighting the fight, and lay down my life.” – “Man Of War”
Even “Kill The Beast” (lyrically reminiscent of Bloodgood’s “Killing the Beast”) is a call to combat the evil waging constant war on our souls. One of the most dynamic songs here, I really like how this song starts out with a slower riff and dark mood and then whips into a fury near the end, only to fade out with the classical guitar melody (I should know that tune but don’t recall which composer). After a brief pause, the most inspirational track closes things out with the glorious exhortation, “Shine on/Don’t you know/That you can never be defeated.” Honestly, if I was a soldier going into battle (whether physical or spiritual) I would want these songs coursing through my head and heart. Great stuff. Fans of heavy melodic metal shouldn’t hesitate to pick this up. CD comes with 12 page booklet.
Release Date: October 12, 2018
1. Hypocrisy (3:06)
2. Masquerade (3:33)
3. Run For Your Life (3:33)
4. Phantom Of The Opera (4:11)
5. Gates Of Hell (3:33)
6. Wonder World (3:54)
7. Man Of War (5:05)
8. Symptom Of The Universe (5:23)
9. Do You Think I’m Mad (5:51)
10. Fire It Up (3:19)
11. Kill The Beast (6:05)
12. Shine On (3:18)