Thursday, October 1, 2009


Whenever I think of Impetigo, I can't help but think of my old buddy Nick out in Humboldt County. Nick and I played in a band together in the early 00's, and were constantly discussing the pros and cons of different types of metal. He was about 15 years older than me, and spent his formative years tripping on acid and checking out amazing punk and metal bands in the local Eureka scene in the 80's. He was around when Mr. Bungle was still just a local thrash band, and was jaded as Hell when it came to any sort of "modern metal". Nick only liked four bands, basically: The Accused, Cryptic Slaughter, Leftover Crack, and, last but not least, Impetigo.
I was in a pretty heavy "technical metal" phase at the time, and spent hours trying to talk Nick into liking the new Cryptopsy or the new Nile or whatever. But Nick wouldn't budge. "Not as good as Impetigo", he would say, confounding me as to why such a simple, goofy, and archaic band would be superior to the frenzied shredding of a cutting-edge death outfit.
Lo, the years passed, and soon the soulless, surgical complexities of "tech metal" loss their lustre. One can only grind out 64th-note solos over impossibly fast (and robotic) blastbeats for so long before the feeling fades, which it inevitably did. Nowadays, if I want a sickening dose of goregrind -- something with FEELING and PERSONALITY -- 9 times out of 10 I reach for Impetigo. A classic case of old age and wisdom conquering youth and enthusiasm. Nick was right. Impetigo = staying power.
As far as the music goes, Ultimo Mondo Cannibale is the perfect example of how death metal can be FUN while still being evil and brutal. Everything goes 10 directions at once, the blastbeats are sloppy, the vocals are completely over-the-top (almost to the point of parody), and the horror movie samples are many and well chosen. Tangible proof that four meatheads in a basement in Illinois can produce far more metal magic than any high-budget, major label death band in a $10,000 a day studio ever could.

Alternate cover:

Alternate alternate cover:

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Below: Impetigo back in the day (and yes, that is indeed Eric Clapton on the far left).