IMPETIGO
"Defiling the Stage"

(Deathgasm)

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RATING: 7/10

If ever there was a cult death metal band whose influence transcended its commercial reach it is Illinois' IMPETIGO. One of the first late 80s acts that came to represent the kind of sample-laden gore metal that inspired a slew of bands, many of which call (or called) Razorback Records home, IMPETIGO impacted blood 'n guts death metal to much the same degree that REPULSION impacted grindcore. "Defiling the Stage" offers the viewer a look into the history of the band as told through four live performances from 1988 (The Gallery in Normal, Ill), 1991 (The Ritz in Indianapolis), 1992 (The Italian American Hall in Peoria), and the 2007 20th anniversary reunion show at the Central Illinois Metal Fest (Urbana).

Originally called SLOW DEATH, IMPETIGO's frantic crossover punk beginnings can be heard in performances at The Gallery, a show filled with comic commentary that had the band verbally abusing members of the mostly unfazed audience. Though it is the earliest show captured here, the sound and video quality is significantly better than bootleg. Those audio/video attributes are uneven at best during the 1991 and 1992 performances, but the sick and twisted death/grind for which IMPETIGO is known take center stage and come with bassist Stevo Dobbins' entertaining stage banter. The 13-song set in Urbana is in many ways the DVD's focal point due to its solid, though bare bones, video treatment and its far better sound quality. It is probably the band's tightest, most professionally played set of its career, though that hardly means that the quartet took technical proficiency to new levels. It is simply a rousing performance in front of a rabid crowd that also featured guest vocal performances fromKam Lee ("Boneyard"), Matt Bishop ("Bloody Pit of Horror"), and Zombie Rob ("Defiling the Grave"). A short hilariously DIY horror film called "Zombie Attack" made by a very young Mark Sawickis wraps up the video segment in most appropriate fashion.

It is the comprehensive history of the band, including details of each show, included in the liner notes that is the icing on the fetid cake, and it guaranteed to fully satisfy the diehard fans. An interview segment sure would have been nice though. Putrid's front cover artwork is the icing on top of the aforementioned icing on that same fetid cake. "Defiling the Stage" is not the type of big budget, jam packed DVD you might see from one of the big metal labels and it wouldn't have seemed right if that were in fact the case. Rather, it is a labor of love specially made for the fans and an important video documentation of a band that has been so important to death metal.

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