May 16, 2012 | , | 3.5

Impiety, Ravage & Conquer

Impiety: Ravage & Conquer

It seems as though (through their 20+ year existence), Impiety have been struggling with their identity the past couple of releases. I’d venture to say that 2009’s Terroreign (Apocalyptic Armageddon Command) was the last time these guys sounded cohesive and on the same page. Sure, bands have line-up changes and want to explore the realms of their skills and genre of music in which they dwell, but it just appears to be doubly true for these guys.

Whether it’s the 40+ minute single track of Worshipers of the Seventh Tyranny and it’s progressive influences or the loose, rushed feel of their last EP, Advent of…, it feels as though the band is in search of something they’ve lost. In an attempt to rediscover that missing element, Impiety may have gone a step too far in the opposite direction with their latest slab of “bestial war metal,” the band’s eighth studio album, Ravage & Conquer.

Leaning heavily on their more extreme and brutal side, the band unleashes eight tracks of vicious blackened death metal that rarely lets up off of the accelerate right from the get go. Normally, I’d have no problem with this, but after the past two releases, it feels like a panicky leap back into the familiar. A rather poor production (clicky drums and distant, flat guitars) certainly doesn’t help the matter any either.

“Revelation Decimation” not only gets the album going, but it pretty much outlines very violently what you’re in store for during the remaining seven songs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for devastating and unrelenting metal just like the next guy and Ravage & Conquer more than delivers the goods — albeit on the sloppy side, which of course has always been one of the hallmarks for the band. At least they’ve got that part of their identity back. Impiety definitley knows how to play on the edge of being too loose and just loose enough to give that impression of complete mayhem. The rest of the album follows suit.

Like I said, this album ain’t horrible, but it’s not the Impiety of old. They’re making progress on finding themselves and this latest mass of aural assaults is pretty goddamned brutal, but I’ll just throw on Terroreign, thanks.