To mark DBL's review number 666, I decided to review something from one of my favourite bands: Impaled Nazarene. Ugra-Karma was originally released in 1993 between the two hailed albums "Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz..." and "Suomi Finland Perkele," which might be one of the reasons why this album seems to have been something of a forgotten gem in the band's vast discography.
The guitars are crude and buzzing, and their riffs mix the rocking simplisticity of hardcore punk and Motörhead together with the pioneering black metal acts' (Blasphemy, Darkthrone...) repetition and harsh rawness. The bass and drums pound onwards with simplistic effectivity in the background, and MikaakiM's gruff and commanding shouts spit out primitive and shameless blasphemy. A hint of piss-soaked eastern mysticism is delivered through the occasional synths and rather unique guitar sound, which makes the album sound even less Finnish. If you heard the album and didn't know where the band originates, my doubt is that many would point its origins to a southern country than Finland.
The songs range from the grinding burst of "Coraxo" to the industrial metal of "Gott Ist Tot" and all the way into the closing number's bitter and almost depressed frustration, but the main thing the album delivers is brisk black metal with a lot of attitude and rocking hc-influences. This is how it sounds when youthful zeal and shamelessness drives over skilled musicianship and technicality.
I don't really have a bad thing to say about the album because I've been listening to it for years, and it still sounds great to me and I've become used to its so-called flaws. The musicianship isn't perfect, but its energetic, honest and vengeful - adjectives that describe this whole album pretty well, up to the lyrics and their "fuck off"-attitude.
The version of the album that I'm reviewing (or well, adoring might be a more descriptive word here!) is the DLP-pressing by Osmose Productions from 2009. Unlike some other pressings, this one doesn't include the "Satanic Masowhore"-single as a bonus. Instead, the second slab of vinyl holds good-sounding live songs from between the years '92-'95, and while I think a recording of a one whole gig with the songs intro-speeches would've been better, I certainly ain't complaining about these songs either. The visual side's excellent too, even though I would've gladly seen more art than just the endless recycling of the cover image on each page. Luckily it's one fine piece of art.
A splendidly done re-release of an album that I personally refer to as a classic.