Holy Murder Masquerade

Metal Blade (2007) Kevin Fitzpatrick

Impious – Holy Murder Masquerade cover artwork
Impious – Holy Murder Masquerade — Metal Blade, 2007

For the most part, there is no concept to Death Metal other than…..well, death. Lofty ideas or "concepts" are usually left to the Power Metal bunch who just looooove to show off their epic sagas with tales of wizards and ghosts and pumpkins and whatnot. This also affords them the opportunity to tell a story, usually in great length, interspersed with the typical self-indulgent "Watch-me-play-this-smokin'-guitar-solo, weedly-weedly-wee"- type nonsense. For Death Metal folks, this is not cool. I mean, let's face it - as with most sub-categorized music, it's a one trick genre. That's why it's a specified "genre". This way, the masses can't confuse it for anything else. And for Death Metal, there is only Death.

Why am I blathering on like this, you ask? Because Impious dare to break free of the deathly chains that bind them. To spit in the face of the reaper what guides them and say HEY! LOOKIE HERE! WE HAVE A CONCEPTUAL ALBUM WITHOUT SACRIFICING OUR DEATH-NESS!, which is more or less true. What Holy Murder Masquerade is, is essentially the first Death concept album. Operation Deathcrime, if you will.

Told through a beautifully rendered comic illustrated by artist Andrea Cavaletto, the band's latest effort really has nothing new to offer except ambition. I won't bore you with the story which, like most conceptual albums are held together by the thinnest of threads. Something about a dude named Vincent on a holy crusade of sorts. In any case the music is more of what we've come to expect from Impious - standard Swedish Death Metal. They've played it their whole careers, were solid at it, but they were never really anything to write home about. Fast groove-oriented with enough tempo changes so as not to upset the aficionados but not too many to scare off the newcomers trying to air-drum to it.

Impious overall does a respectable job, and there's certainly worse music out there, but there's a whole lot better out there, too. Impious would be a good gateway band for someone trying to convince their friend that there's more extremes to life than Iron Maiden and knows that Deicide'll scare the shit of him, so going with Death-lite like In Flames or Impious is the obvious solution. Ultimately, the neophytes are more likely to dig this album for the mere fact that they just don't know any better.

Impious – Holy Murder Masquerade cover artwork
Impious – Holy Murder Masquerade — Metal Blade, 2007

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