Friday, March 3, 2017

Immolation : "Atonement"

If you are quick to think bands like Ulcerate created their brand of dark and dissonant death metal, the new you need to get caught up on is Immolation has been around since 1988. They are old pros at their brand of death metal, which might not sound as evil or satan fueled as Morbid Angel or Incantation, but they have a certain sonic desolation that should be taken just as seriously. To their credit they have never fallen into some of the odd excursions a band like Morbid Angel has. Not to knock Morbid Angel as they are likely at their prime my favorite death metal band.

The parts I find  that make a song like  "When the Jackals Come" less interesting to my ears is more of a problem with death metal as a whole  in that it relies on a single minded aggression. At the end of this song, that is varied with some interesting guitar melodies. They do a better job of catching my ear on "Fostering the Divide". This is mainly due to the stellar drumming of Steve Shalaty formerly of Deeds of the Flesh. When it does constrict into the more over aggression, at least you have been given a breather going into it. The slower darker groove of "Thrown to the Fire" works a lot better for me than the more in your face speed fest off "Rise  the Heretics".

This album sounds greats and they have really big powerful sound going into "Destructive Currents" but from a songwriting perspective aside from being heavy it sounds like everything else. They prove they are capable of doing more on "Lower" which is actually a great death metal song with the vocals contributing to the song rather than being a growled after thought. The speed picks back up for the title track and the challenge is obvious when you are playing hammering fast death metal how to keep it interesting? They do find a groove toward the end that could set a mosh pit on fire, but as far as all time greatest metal songs go, the bar has not been raised. Things do improve and groove with "Above All" .

By now you are wondering why I am being so hard on these guys and already have this album penned on your best 2017. The reason is these guys have been doing it since 88. We have the two principle songwriters in the band. So these guys should have their shit abut as finely tuned as you could ask for. They do to some extent, All of the sounds are dialed in to the 9th degree. But I want the compositions to be just as air tight and on some songs they are. "the Power of Gods" is not one of those songs. If you just want a sick ass guitar tone and double bass kicking your face off then you are in luck , but you are probably only a teenager if that is all you still want out of music.. They redeem themselves with "Epiphany" which has a nice hooky groove to it. Overall even with the high expectations this album is pretty solid , I'll give it a 8.


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