Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Goatsnake - Flowers Of Disease
(Man's Ruin)

More central, undeviated stoner rock from the crux-bound center of the genre, Goatsnake's pedigreed bunch (Obsessed, Wool, Scream, Burning Witch) going straight for the doomy goods as they existed at the beginning of the explosion circa '97/'98. As per Goatsnake I and Dog Days, Pete, Stuart and the two Gregs serve it raw, dry and slow with the smoky vocals of Pete Stahl being this band's trump, Stahl and indeed three or four tracks here (The Dealer, A Truckload Of Mamma's Muffins), conspiring to evoke Masters Of Reality at their most crotchety and eccentric, even approaching the impending calamity of The Doors. But that's what purity of purpose will get you, Goatsnake able to turn what on paper are unflashy, smothering constructs into receptacles overflowing with bluesy, bruisy mood.
Rating 7.5

Impaler - One Nation Under Ground
(Root Of All Evil)

Impaler have been a Midwest punk thrash institution since '84, arriving at their latest album firmly tongue-in-cheek, lacing their rudimentary mid-mosh with a couple of rarities redone as well as a sneering party cover of Alice Cooper's Teenage Frankenstein, perfect for the album's Halloween release date. "Lead vomitist" Bill Lindsay has always been clear about this band's mission, even if those on the outside misunderstood, Impaler being equal parts simple thrash and complicated punk, somewhere between Teenage Heads, the Cramps, Mentors, Misfits, Deceased, Lizzy Borden and MOD, yet unlike all of those, sorta like hardcore with horror without any snickery ambitions about rising above the garage. And to further confound, Lindsay hollers like a New Yorker, like a '70s punk, like an '80s punk, again, dragging the band into a gutter they know they've made home. Bad on many levels, but aware and celebrating that distinct odor of expiry. See www.rootofallevil.com for more info.
Rating 6.5