Immolation are a band who have truly stood the test of time in the death metal realm. With 2017 marking their 29th year in the business, the quintessential thinking man’s extreme band definitely do not disappoint with their tenth full length album Atonement.
In contrast to their more recent efforts Majesty and Decay and Kingdom of Conspiracy, Atonement sees Immolation ease up ever so slightly on the speed factor and instead focus on the intensity and groove behind each song, very similar in fact to their debut classic Dawn of Possession. Robert Vigna’s powerful riffs on Fostering the Divide, Above All and Epiphany add some fantastic, catchy hooks to the album, ensuring that the songs will get stuck in your head and that you’ll be bloody happy about it too.
One of the real stand out factors with Atonement is just how masterfully crafted the entire album is. Immolation are a band who have honed and refined their sound brilliantly throughout their 29 years in death metal. Opening number The Distorting Light is the perfect example of this, as the song begins with a slow, eerie opening before the relentless onslaught of death metal begins. There is no messing about whatsoever with the Distorting Light, as the song has a beautifully erratic quality to it with some strong groove in there for good measure. The erratic and dynamic quality is one that is dominant throughout Atonement, with both Destructive Currents, Lower and title track Atonement charging in with much speed and force behind them, giving the album a hefty dose of might behind it.
Proving that they have mastered all elements of creating heavy, brutal sound, there are a fair few slower, riff centred numbers on Atonement too. Fostering the Divide, Thrown to the Fire and Epiphany are much more forceful and crushing numbers, with Dolan’s signature growls adding a substantial dose of menace to the songs, giving them a unique and macabre edge.
Atonement is overall a solid and satisfying album. Yes it is slower and a fraction more melodic than previous Immolation releases, however what the album lacks in speed it makes up for in intense, crushing menace. There are plenty of infectious riffs, detailed solos and typical Dolan growls to make this album more than worth listening too. With their first UK appearance of 2017 being at Bristol Deathfest in April, what better way to spend your Easter than hearing some killer tracks from this beast of an album live?
(8/10 Eilish Foxen)