Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
Yep, when the band’s official video landed for the album’s intro track “Wolves Will Feed“, it hammered home the notion that THE ASOUND surely seemed to be embracing their southern roots a bit more, at least musically. Sure, they had hinted at such leanings on earlier releases, ones where influential vibes from Pepper Keenan era Corrosion Of Conformity would occasionally pop through. Yet, once the full of ‘Impalement Arts‘ is experienced, it becomes unshakably adamant that there is indeed evolution occurring in the sound of THE ASOUND.
Some of that might be attributed to the fact of the band itself evolving into a quartet, with Chad Wyrick (guitar, vocals), Michael Crump (drums), and Jon Cox (bass) now joined by second guitarist Dave Easter. It seems to be a smart move, too, as the band achieves a much fuller sound, and really now, is there anything better than a dual guitar lineup?
You may not want to answer that yet, but instead opt to hear some audible evidence in this case… rest assured, there is plenty of that here to refer to. Some of it is delivered by means of densely constructed southern doom, like that in the blunt force jams of “Dead Rat Cinders“, title track “The Impalement Arts“, “Commanding The Sword“, and the oh-so incredible “Chief Of Thieves“.
Not so easily distinguishable on this album are the usually evident punk overtones one can cull from a listening to of THE ASOUND. They seem to be downplayed, even suppressed perhaps, as this incarnation of the band, for the most part, goes headlong more into the aforementioned doom direction. There is also an abundance of metallic properties throughout this record, songs like the powerful “Throne Of Compulsion“, the furious and amazing “Triple Saints“, and “Moss Man“, share a newly cultivated ferocity from within the band.
A pair of songs, an original and a reinterpretation (cover), eventually close this album by means of their impacting, one-two wallop. The original, “Masters Of The Mind“, is a raging inferno of sludgy excess, one where a veritable wall of guitar, bass, and drums crashes upon you for its duration. Then there is the guys’ take on the pre-Torche band Floor’s composition “Loanin’“. It, too, a deluge of controlled aggression with its building/ falling/ building again style sonics and anguished vocals.
It is heartwarming to hear THE ASOUND closed out 2018 with such an incredible collection of (musical) notes and voice as they do upon ‘Impalement Arts‘. Not only is the album an aggression-laden offering of the finest caliber for fans of unfiltered heaviness, but it also serves to confirm that the band is in a metamorphosing state, something many bands are cursed with not occurring. No, I do not necessarily mean just a band’s membership either, for without change or growth, to me, many bands become stagnant and boring, but thankfully that is not the case here. I invite you to stream ‘Impalement Arts‘ in this review or head over to Bandcamp for further streaming and purchase options.