"Live at WFMU" (Beer City; 1993)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Impulse Manslaughter was a hardcore/crossover act that got their start in the '80s and somehow completely escaped my various inquests to all forms of extreme music. This 2004 re-release of 1993's "Live At WFMU" captures Impulse Manslaughter at various stages of their career: live radio broadcast, albums, EPs, split EPs, a cover tune, single-tracks from compilations, and even an unreleased track. If you've forgotten about the band or never even heard of them I have since learned that Impulse Manslaughter were apparently one of the first bands signed to Nuclear Blast Records way back in the day.

The main focus of the disc includes 17-tracks originally recorded in 1993 for a live radio broadcast (hence the album's title). However, the performance was not released because the band wasn't happy with the sound quality and performances. But maybe time heals all wounds and the band was satisfied enough to let it be heard or, hell, maybe the kind folks at Beer City wanted to put it out for the hell of it. This portion of the disc alone is enough to tell the listener that Impulse Manslaughter played a blend of old-school hardcore with the speed of thrash and the fervor of the original punk purveyors. The rest of the 38 tracks includes an assortment of material sure to please the band's fans and those interested in early '80s/mid-80's hardcore when the genre's heavyweights began adding more metallic crunch to their sounds.

I may not care much for this type of music anymore, but I can say that the performances are pretty damned tight and delivered with conviction and an edge often lacking in today's over-produced studio albums. Over the course of 38 tracks covering more than a decade of a band's career you'd expect some variety from track to track and the band manages to keep things interesting without ever losing sight of their signature sound and style.

Impulse Manslaughter's "Live At The WFMU" is primarily for collectors only as well as those who have recently gotten into the band and need to complete their record collections as the disc contains out-of-print and/or hard-to-find material. The disc is jam-packed with nearly 68-minutes of material.

Impulse Manslaughter are a bit too hardcore for my tastes, but I do appreciate the band's ability to throw some metallic bits and pieces into their raging brand of hardcore fury. I liked what I heard of D.R.I. when I was in high school when I had friends that regularly made a habit of listening to that kind of music Impulse Manslaughter remind me a bit of the kind of chaos that D.R.I. could stir up at a moment's notice in the musical world.

Impulse Manslaughter included (at one point or another) Karl Patton, Vince Vongal, Dan Duchaine, Rob Lanham, Rick McKelvy, John Tolczyk, Chris Hanely, Glen Herman, and Nick Stevens.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2004 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.