The Godfather (or should that be Goatfather) of black metal is back. Yes…Yes… the mighty Impiety are back with a new album, Ravage and Conquer, (their 8th album to be exact!) released through Pulverized Records.

For the ‘un-informed’, Impiety are a black metal band established in 1990 in Singapore, (a country known more for its harsh penal punishment than black metal music), and have to date released a total of not only 8 studio albums but also 5 EPs, 1 compilation, 1 live DVD, and countless singles and splits!. Not bad for a band with a 20 plus years history and a ‘revolving door’ of members to match (less founder/ song writer/ vocalist/ bassist, Shyaithan). Dubbed the ‘Grand Beast of Asian Black Metal’, the band has undertaken several tours in Europe, Asia and also North America. Recently, they earned the moniker of being ‘the first extreme metal band’ to perform in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos in early 2012. A great feat no doubt.

Enough said….

Although ‘Ravage and Conquer’ is Impiety’s 8th album over a span of 20 years, fortunately for us they do not seem to be slowing down in terms of age. In fact, on this latest album, one can almost sense a tad of maturity in the songs and song writing! The usual ingredients of ‘speed and aggression’ are prevalent throughout it but listen closely and one can almost sense a more ‘structured’ music composition as compared with previous Impiety’s albums. Even the album cover features a single goat-headed demon sitting on a throne armed with a sub-machine gun! A far cry from the older albums covers of warfare and Hell’s fire imaginary!

Revelation Decimation, the first track of the album begins with a ‘fade-in’ of drum beats accompanied by the sound of a bugle followed by a ‘marching’ guitar riff somewhat signaling the arrival of the mighty Impiety, which then breaks open to a hail of skull crushing drum beats, swirling guitars and growling vocals synonymous with Impiety but with a more defined song writing and music structure prevalent in the composition; a style uncommon in older Impiety’s releases. Ravage and Conquer, the title track for the album, continues immediately where ‘Revelation Decimation’ ends, with the similar crushing black/ death metal sound that have served Impiety well for all these years. The rest of the album follows a similar fashion, including the last track on the album, a nice rendition of Bathory’s Sacrifice, which would have no doubt put a smile on Quorthon’s face.

On hindsight, Ravage and Conquer is a good comeback for Impiety since their last album, Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny; which saw the band experiment with a different set of sound over one long sprawling track. This album would definitely gain more fans; and also reconvert older ones, who may have thought that the band had lost its touch from the previous release. Just like the title, this album is guaranteed to ravage and conquer. All hail the mighty Impiety.

 (8/10, Imran M)