The Impaler – AFWTD (A Fate Worse Than Death)

AFWTD Album Cover Art

The Impaler – AFWTD (A Fate Worse Than Death)
Release Date: 19/02/2021
Running Time: 29:31
Review by Steven Hooke

I’m starting to think the raging sun and the multitude of insects and animals that want to kill them is starting to really get to Australians.

A hive of various iterations of hardcore over the years, the light and frilly post-hardcore of The Amity Affliction and Hands Like Houses slowly evolved into the stomp and aggression of Parkway Drive and I Killed the Prom Queen, which then in turn crept into the realms of deathcore with Thy Art is Murder and Make Them Suffer, before a quick foray into the emergence of djent with Polaris and Northlane, lead to New Zealand’s bigger brother becoming the international hotspot for the new age of nu-metalcore with the likes of Ocean Grove and Alpha Wolf. It’s almost like they were bored of being known as ‘that country with the band that’s played the same song for 50 years and whose guitarist dresses like he’s still in secondary school’.

In that bracket of ‘it’s like deathcore, except it actually sounds like someone wants to kill me’ is The Impaler, a five-piece banquet from Melbourne. Following up from their debut “Death Cult” from last year, “A Fate Worse Than Death” actually opens with a similar idea to the debut, with the intro track – in this case ‘Voices’ – keen to set the mood and the atmosphere for the album. Whereas ‘The Leper’ from “Death Cult” goes from ‘spooky spooks’ to ‘murder’ in about 30 seconds, ‘Voices’ lets the aura build, creating a darker, encroaching presence before getting to the aforementioned ‘murder’ parts. Straight away from the two openers, The Impaler’s ‘AFWTD’ has whiffs that the band has been hard at work to create a bigger feeling to their music, with the switch into ‘Failure’ showing off the wall of noise they now have in their repertoire.

A large part of it comes from an improved production job, adding in the rumbling bass tone that’s all the rage at the moment, which affects the bass drum kicks and general low-end notes. That, in turn, gives you a satisfying little rattle in your head whilst not sounding like a blown speaker. It’s particularly prominent on ‘Mourn’, which features a guest appearance from Thy Art is Murder’s CJ McMahon who trades vocal lines with The Impaler frontman Jordan Scott, ending up sounding like the pair are gargling cement.

The black metal elements are far more pronounced on this album too. Echoing tremolos dominate ‘Release’ before they melt into veering bends that feels like you’re taking a peak outside after the first bomb has been dropped, but no song adds blackened kvlt-ness as prominent – or as good – as ‘Immortal’. An almost beautiful song that feels inspired by the blackened folk qualities of ‘The Wild Hunt’ by Watain and one that is bathed in melodies, with everyone playing their part so well throughout the song. The heaven breaching swells of guitars that seamlessly transition into black metal chord progressions, drummer Jammie Hubbard leading the charge from one key change to another, before working with bassist Ben Van Looy in imploding the world on the breakdown, all the while Jordan is performing with an incredible range that almost poetically feels like a cross between Alpha Wolf’s Lochie Keogh and former Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker.

I feel almost cruel giving this a 7/10, mostly because it doesn’t feel like it tells the full story – although for what it’s worth, it is a high 7. Like a 7.999*/10.

It feels like the best parts of ‘A Fate Worse Than Death’ almost hinder the album, the heights of ‘Immortal’, ‘Mourn’ and ‘Release’ are so high that they leave the rest of the album feeling quite normal (although the “…destroy the fucking world!” breakdown in ‘Hatred’ is pure filth). The world building and sadistic opera-like swells brought in from black metal work wonders for the band’s sound and should, along with this production style, be things The Impaler lean into heavily for album number three, which given their turnaround so far should be here March next year, so chop chop lads.

‘Mourn’ (Official Video)

01. Voices
02. Failure
03. Immortal
04. Mourn (ft. CJ McMahon of Thy Art is Murder)
05. Fear
06. Hatred (ft. Josh Hill of Cerement)
07. Release

Jordan Scott – Vocals
Shaun Van Looy – Lead Guitar
Lewis Ranford – Rhythm Guitar
Ben Van Looy – Bass
Jammie Hubbard – Drums


The Impaler Promo Pic with Logo

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.


The Impaler Logo


Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Australian based Death Metal band, The Impaler. Huge thanks to lead guitarist, Shaun Van Looy, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Shaun Van Looy and I play Lead Guitar in The Impaler.

The band was formed in the early months of 2020 and will shortly have two releases under our belts. Under current global restrictions there isn’t much in regard to band growth but our online presence and studio catalog continues to grow. Most members have a lot of years in heavy bands prior, so we joined together for fun initially.

How did you come up with your band name?

A combination of inspiration from the old Dracula legend and from The Acacia Strain song with the same name.

What country are you from and what is the Rock/Metal scene like there?

We are based in Australia with one member in USA. The metal scene is Australia is small but strong. If you are good at what you do there is a lot of support for you, but you have to be good to get through the initial stages and get people to take notice.

What is your latest release (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our Album “A Fate Worse Than Death” was released on Feb 19th.

‘Mourn’ (ft. CJ McMahon from Thy Art Is Murder, Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Musically we have a few, to name some would be Behemoth, The Acacia Strain, Whitechapel and Cattle Decapitation.

Lyrically, themes can come from anything like daily occurrences to major life events and global events, right down to mythical folklore.

What first got you into music?

Seeing live music when I was young and having a musical influence from my parents as a young kid. But in my high school years discovering Metallica and Pantera made me want to do it properly.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

If I had the choice for anyone it would be Nergal (Adam Darski) from Behemoth.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Probably HELLFEST or WACKEN. Those massive multi-day outdoor European festivals would be such a great time for being around like-minded people that enjoy playing music.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Probably being asked to swap T-shirts with a fan after a really sweaty show in S.E Asia.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

To take up playing an instrument if the desire is there. Or become involved with music at a local level if desire is there. Keeping local scenes alive is what make the big bands go around as well. Also don’t be afraid to like what you like.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Dimebag Darrel, No Question about it.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Being able to create something that can change emotion for better or worse.

It can be very expensive, and not being very financially secure. Good Artists don’t always get what they are worth.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Probably the same as my last answer to be honest. Giving artists a better ability in the world of financial security.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“I Loved You At Your Darkest” by Behemoth

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Downloads for accessibility, Vinyl for packaging, sound quality and overall experience.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Headline show for an outdoor metal festival in Surabaya, Indonesia.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I am a Qualified Chef so probably owning a restaurant.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

The cast of The Office US.

What’s next for the band?

Album Release and as many shows as we can! Currently planning a cinematic film clip shoot for an 8min song on our next release.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Mainly Instagram at the moment, but there is a Facebook under the same handle.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Never had them in Australia so can’t weigh in on that debate.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for the interview! Keep an eye on our social presence and enjoy the next release!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.