Versus All Gods

Singaporean death/black/thrash/war metal blasphemers Impiety have been around since I was about 6, but my introduction to them was much later. If you have paid any attention to my words on this site at all, you have no doubt noticed I have picked up quite a few albums on a whim. While I am unsure of the date, other than the fact that it has been within the last 10 years, I do know I picked up Skullfucking Armageddon in a record store I used to frequent. The original appeared in 1999, but this was the 2011 reissue. So, let’s say it was in 2011 or 2012? At the time, I questioned whether the album title was in reference to forcefully penetrating the skull of Armageddon or in fact being the “Armageddon” of skull fucking. Either way, it’s pretty sexy. Ah, life’s important questions.

Just like the question of where babies come from, I’ll probably never know the answer to the above. Some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved. Anyway… After a somewhat typical introduction, the first track, “Reigning Armageddon” begins. These gentlemen seem to have an infatuation with Armageddon. The first thing I notice is that the production is a lot cleaner than I expected. I won’t claim to be an expert, but any previous album to which I have listened in the “war metal” sub-genre, while not produced poorly, has been rough around the edges, and a bit dirty. While this production is certainly not what one would call “pristine,” it is quite a step up from what was expected.

With that being said, even from the first track, everything sounds like controlled chaos. It’s just about to go off the rails at any moment because of the speed and ferocity, but it doesn’t. I’m reminded somewhat of Mayhem’s A Grand Declaration of War in the production and guitar tone. At times, it feels like a mix of that, as well as latter day Marduk. “Reigning Armageddon” has the tease of a solo a little over a minute in, but then goes right back into the ferocity. Around 30 seconds later, we’re treated to a quick, yet speedy and proficient solo. Another solo happens about 30 seconds from that. This one is a little longer than the first two teases, but holy shit snacks, what a start!

As I go down through the track listing, I say out loud many times; “Oh, fuck yeah, this song is great!” I want to mention just a couple more, though. With its “fuck” leading into a pummeling, “Dajjal United” grabbed my attention, but “Interstellar Deathfuck” might just steal the show. Firstly, the song title deserves recognition, but the main hook actually includes the song title. It also includes some ethereal female vocals, which caught me by surprise. I could go into a deep dive as to what the song title means and in fact have in my mind several times, but who cares? It’s killer and I think too much.

The closing track, “Magickal Wrath,” is a little long for a war metal track, but once again, who cares? If it weren’t for the guitar tone, blasting, and furious double bass, one could be mistaken for thinking this is a NWOBHM track in parts. As is the case with a great number of the tracks on this record, there are fast, killer guitar leads interspersed throughout, and they’re all enjoyable.

If you somehow can’t tell by now, I thoroughly enjoy this record. It makes me want to buy some Impiety merch and deck myself out in corpse paint and leather gauntlets. I expected nothing new brought to the table. Perhaps with my somewhat limited knowledge of the sub-genre, the tricks Impiety have up their sleeve may have been done before by others. However, to call them tricks might be doing them a disservice. These songs are fast, passionate, brutal, virtuosic, and feel like they were written by dudes who were on fire. I’m not sure they are entirely the same sub-genre, but the last war metal record I recall enjoying this much was Destroyer 666’s Wildfire.

I believe Versus All Gods crushes it. More appropriately, lights it on fire, stabs a monarch with it, slays a dragon, and wins a world war or two. That metaphor may be terrible… Anyway, this is the best war metal record I have ever heard, which admittedly is coming from someone who is less than a scholar when it comes to it, but you need to do yourself a favor and give this album a go. You may just end up not listening to anything else.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
May 28th, 2020


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