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Flash Metal Suicide: Impaler

This week: post-apocalyptic carnivores Impaler, and their debut EP 'Rise Of The Mutants'

“I know you've met them all, but they can't make you thrash” - Crack That Whip

Here's the thing to remember about the 80's, at least here in the USA. There were two prevailing obsessions in pop culture for most of the decade: heavy metal and splatter movies. We could not get enough of jiggling cheerleaders getting stalked and slashed by faceless killers, especially when the latest Ratt or Dokken single was chugging away in the background. And this went on for years, man. Blood, boobs, and headbanging. I'm not sure where this obsession with sex, violence and rampant volume came from, although I suspect nuclear fear and cocaine had a lot to do with it. 

Anyway, lots of flash metal bands sought inspiration in splatter, as evidenced by the plethora of ginchy shock n’ roll bands around at the time, midnight tatterdemalions and groovy ghouls like WASP, Gwar, Green Jello, Ripper, Haunted Garage, Nasty Savage, Hallow’s Eve, Lizzy Borden, the Manimals, the Wild, and Kery Doll, among others. But if ya really wanna slice through the all the grisly meat ‘til you hit bone, let us simply park our hearse in front of the 80s gravest gore whores, the darkest defilers of ‘em all, the offal-eating bad asses from Minnesota themselves, Impaler. Impaler were so out there in every possible way that I'm still not sure it wasn't all just a hazy, blood-soaked nightmare.

Impaler was formed in the early 80s in St Paul, Minnesota, a cold, desolate tundra of black ice and purple rain, by one Bill Lindsey, a dude who grew up on Hammer horror flicks and Detroit rock n' roll. Their live shows featured Lindsey emerging from a coffin to perform unspeakable acts on the audience, his band, and himself. There was blood, there was horror, there was nudity. But most importantly, there was rock n' roll. There are many things that set them apart from the rest of the splat-pack, but their impeccable taste in musical influences was the ringer. Impaler loved Alice Cooper, sure, but they also loved the Stooges and the MC5, and that added a raw, primal element to their music that made WASP sound as safe as milk in comparison. 

They were also unabashed in their love of punk, particularly the Dead Boys. With the glaring exception of Overkill, who also embraced the nihilistic antics of Stiv and company, most metal bands at the time were still violently opposed to anything punk rock. The relative isolation of their hometown was another factor in their development. St Paul/Minneapolis was a hotbed for punk and indie-rock (Replacements, Soul Asylum, Husker Du, etc), but pretty barren when it came to metal. Impaler's only real competition in the local scene was pirate-metal chainsaw wielders Slave Raider, and they were just as hopelessly weird. Throw in a couple decades of late-show horror flicks on TV and you've got the perfect prescription for Rise of the Mutants, Impaler's jaw-dropping debut.

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