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Immolation: Harnessing Ruin

It is amazing how much growth New York death metal band Immolation shows from release to release, never abandoning their roots. Although each album from them is amazing in its own way, I tend to lean towards their more recent stuff (Close to a World onwards). I think their previous disc, Unholy Cult, set a milestone in their career, emphasising layers of atmosphere to complement their already technically astounding music.

Their new album, Harnessing Ruin, is an amalgamation of the band's previous efforts, only with bigger desolate atmosphere and darker songwriting. The songs are still as chaotic as ever focusing on killer guitar work that pulls at the heart strings. If you've never heard Immolation before, start right here. You'll be amazed at both guitarists' excellent command of melody. Not a single note is played for the sake of impressing anyone; everything is kept within the context of the song. Robert Vigna and Bill Taylor throw the traditional death metal riffing out the window, laying down evil acoustic guitars in the intro of "Dead to Me", unorthodox Egyptian scales on "Challenge the Storm", or simply gripping guitar solos that shred the listener to pieces on tunes such as the title track, "My Own Enemy" or "Crown the Liar". The riffing on this disc is mindblowing throughout; it's mostly based around eerie minor chords, dissonant guitar attacks and evil song structures. Add new drummer Steve Shalaty to the fold; he sounds a tad different the first couple of listens, but each additional spin cements the fact that he is a monster player. His kick drums rule supreme, his polyrhythms are so well-crafted that thousands of others could only dream of, and on top of all, he plays with wonderful restraint, leaving plenty of playing space for vocalist Ross Dolan's prominent bass.

Ross Dolan's brutal death growls are also more atmospheric as well as easier to follow without the booklet in your hands. The lyrics continue to evolve around anti-religion themes. Producer Paul Orofino once again creates a grim wallsound tapestry we've all come to expect from him. The mix is solid as a rock and its intentional murkiness in spots obscures melody, and only repeated listens reveal the inner depths of this release. Don't write it off if doesn't click with you right away; let the music settle in your brain and discover all the elements seamlessly integrated in their sound. This is so far one of the best death metal releases of 2005.

Track Listing

  1. Swarm of Terror
  2. Our Savior Sleeps
  3. Challenge the Storm
  4. Harnessing Ruin
  5. Dead to Me
  6. Son of Iniquity
  7. My Own Enemy
  8. Crown the Liar
  9. At Mourning's Twilight

Added: May 8th 2005
Reviewer: Murat Batmaz
Score:
Related Link: Immolation @ Metal Storm
Hits: 1662
Language: english

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