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Classic Review: Impaled Nazarene - Ugra-Karma
Impaled Nazarene

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 1993
Duration: 38:27
Tracks: 12
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: May 6, 2008
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating

Rated 4.35/5 (86.98%) (43 Votes)

Impaled Nazarene are one of Black Metal's stalwarts, as they have quite a long and extensive catalog of grisly, headbangable, blasting ugliness that I have yet to fully delve into. I do happen to have this album though, and although it isn't instantly gratifying, it is a monster of an album.

Impaled Nazarene took the standard Black Metal template and tinkered with it in subtle ways, adding some folkish, majestic melodies here and there, and dashes of electronic influences ("Gott Ist Tott" is the main offender in this respect) that make this album instantly recognizable. All of the key Black Metal elements are firmly in place, from the thin, hollow production job, the fuzzy, raw guitar sound, the blackened rasping and shrieking from behind the mic and the bucketfulls of blastbeats and tremolo-picked riffs, but Impaled Nazarene are good songwriters, and Ugra Karma is far from a generic Black Metal release. Every song here is instantly recognizable, and the band utilizes catchy riffs and foreboding, horror-movie esque melodies to accentuate this, clashing with the simplistic bashing of the music's surface aesthetics to create quite an interesting album, with much more depth than meets the ear on first listen. Give this one time to grow on you.

There aren't any real bad songs here, and standouts include the vicious, ripping opener "The Horny and The Horned," the monolithic, towering "Hate," the eccentric, high-octane blasting of the furious "Kali Yuga," the desolate, bleak stomp of "Cyberchrist," with its crushing riffs and dense, foggy atmosphere, and the doomy closer "Sadistic 666 / Under a Golden Shower." Ugra Karma is not an album that will convert non-Black Metal fans to the genre, but it is a very competent album of evil, abrasive Black Metal played at its best, with enough creative nuance to keep you interested for a long time. Recommended.

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