Summit by Seven ImpaleRelease date: May 26, 2023
Label: Karisma Records
From the moment those piano chords began on the opening track ‘Hunter’ you feel as if you’re on the brink of insanity. For Norway’s own Seven Impale, they’ve raised the gauntlet even wider on their latest release, Summit.
Following up to their 2016 album Contrapasso, Summit is as brutal, intense, and right down to the bone the moment the sextet bringing in the heavy fire to their music. And yes it’s been seven years since we heard from them. And this is my very first time hearing their music, and it’s a knockout.
For Stian Økland, Erlend Vottvik Olsen, Tormond Fosso, Fredrik Mekki Widerøe, Benjamin Mekki Widerøe, and Håkon Vinje, they’re not fooling around, they’re getting down to business, and not backing down without a fight. You can tell that they’ve done their research very, very well.
With ‘Hydra’ it becomes a swirling, creepy ‘40s film-noir like scenery with a smoky atmosphere thanks to Benjamin’s tenor sax, floating towards the crime scene. But once the engines are revving up, it becomes a powder keg, ready to explode in outer space.
I love how the Widerøe brothers do a duel in the midsection between sax and banjo. It’s an odd choice for the banjo to appear on this album, but it works! And in the last three minutes of the piece, it becomes a theatrical attack on all of the sense, pouring its heart out with a blistering chug, coming at you 500 miles per hour!
‘Ikaros’ feels like we’re inside the abandoned facilities of Arkham Asylum. Once a place where the famous DC villains lived, is now a ghost town. But the ghosts themselves haunt the place for a very long time.
You feel the energy, the eruptive roars, intensive drum work from Fredrik, followed by Vinje’s spooky keyboards and the nightmarish guitars walking into the territories of Voivod, Electric Wizard, and Celtic Frost, rolled into one. Not to mention the sax going into a Van der Graaff section that speaks the Pawn Hearts-era, continuing where ‘Man-Erg’ had left off.
Operatic, doom, prog, death metal, and sinister psychedelic overtones, it’s all there! The closing 13-minute track ‘Sisyphus’ is where as I’ve mentioned earlier, the operatic form comes in full swing, thanks to Okland’s powerful vocal lines. Once the call-and-response time signature happens with a booming effect, we get inside the patient’s mind. And soon we find out that this person is nowhere near sane, but off the rails.
I can tell that the 6-piece have a lot of the Gentle Giant and Zappa ornaments thrown into the blender in the last six minutes of the piece where they chart from One Size Fits All, Octopus, and The Grand Wazoo. Soft and massive metallic thrashes, it becomes a battle of personalities going at each other the same time.
Summit has proven to be the band’s crowning jewel by coming back with a vengeance. It constructs all of the ingredients they’ve cooked up inside their laboratory, and having enough Energon cubes that is needed throughout their music.