Monday 17 June 2013

Immolation - Kingdom of Conspiracy (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released :  10/5/2013
Label : Nuclear Blast

Kingdom of Conspiracy, album track listing:
01. Kingdom of Conspiracy 3:48
02. Bound to Order 3:49
03. Keep the Silence 4:06
04. God Complex 3:35
05. Echoes of Despair 3:45
06. Indoctrinate 4:49
07. The Great Sleep 5:22
08. A Spectacle of Lies 3:14
09. Serving Divinity 3:36
10. All That Awaits Us 4:50



Now a name long synonymous with the extreme music scene, IMMOLATION has been delivering some of the most unique, and creatively dark, death metal the underground has witnessed over the past 25 years.  Celebrating a quarter of a century of existence in 2013, this is one band that does not look back, continuing to push the limits and remaining a vibrant force for the future of a genre they helped define.

Since the release of their debut album “Dawn of Possession” (Roadrunner) in 1991, IMMOLATION has been paving their way down an ever evolving path of uncompromising musical devastation!  Never a band to rely on their previous efforts, IMMOLATION has continued album after album to refine and hone their most identifiable style and sound, creating some of the darkest and most adventurous death metal the scene has ever heard.   With such classic albums as “Here In After”, “Failures for Gods”, and “Close To A World Below” (Metal Blade), as well as their more recent critically acclaimed releases, “Unholy Cult”, “Harnessing Ruin”, “Hope and Horror”(ep) and “Shadows In The Light” (Listenable/Century Media),  the band has developed into one of the premier extreme acts of our time. 

2010 saw the next step in IMMOLATION’s evolution with its Nuclear Blast debut, “Majesty and Decay”.   With the release of “Majesty and Decay” IMMOLATION not only surpassed their previous releases musically, but had started a new chapter in their career with the added mix/mastering talents of Zack Ohren (Castle Ultimate Studios).  Together with long-time producer Paul Orofino (Millbrook Sound Studios), the combination proved to be the key to some of the most powerful sounding IMMOLATION material to date!  Not only had IMMOLATION taken their abilities so much further, with some of the most disheartening musical landscapes the band has ever created, but the sound and production was taken to new levels as well, unleashing all the unrelenting force the band truly offers!  With their most solid production recorded at that time, accented by the remarkably stunning artwork of then newly recruited Par Olofsson, “Majesty and Decay” became an instant classic!   

Not too long after, 2011 saw the release of IMMOLATION’s second ever ep entitled “Providence” (Scion A/V).  This five song ep of all new original tracks was released by Scion A/V (Toyota) as an online free download, available for fans worldwide.  Free cds and vinyl were only available during the band’s U.S tour for this ep, making it an even more sought after release! Overall “Providence” proved again that the combination of Orofino & Ohren, with Par Olofsson once again at the artistic helm, was a team to keep!  Production and artwork were once again some of the bands best.  “Providence” was not just an ep, it proved to be a five song mammoth that found itself on some of the top release lists for that year!  With IMMOLATION creating an interesting collection of avant-garde, yet extremely catchy songs ”Providence” set the tone for where the band was heading, and a taste of what to expect from their next full length lp.

“Kingdom of Conspiracy” is truly a defining moment for IMMOLATION.  With this, the band’s second full length record for Nuclear Blast, it is clear that IMMOLATION has found themselves at their most refined and strongest point to date.  “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is without a doubt their most complete, menacing, and grimmest culmination of musical madness the band has ever released!  While conceptually taking a dark and bitter look at the realities of our world today, adding an Orwellian twist to its not so distant future, all our fears are soon realized in this soundtrack that mirrors our world more than we choose to accept.   And with speeds and intensity beyond anything the band has recorded, to some of the most mournful orchestrations they have dared to delve into, IMMOLATION has redefined themselves once again, and come out holding the torch high!  An unrelenting collection of catchy, intense and darkly imaginative tracks, each song on “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is a testament to the pure style and creativity that makes IMMOLATION who they are!

Recorded once again at Millbrook Sound Studios with producer Paul Orofino,  mixed and mastered by Zack Ohren (Castle Ultimate Studios), and anointed with the talents of artist Par Olofsson, “Kingdom of Conspiracy” will have extreme music fans foaming at the mouth!  With pinpoint accuracy and violent melodic prowess, the epic feel and dominating power delivered by “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is sure to please fans of death/black metal and all extreme music! 

“Kingdom of Conspiracy” goes beyond all expectations and will leave its listeners crumbled on the ground in a pile of ash,…thanking IMMOLATION for every minute it took them to get there!  © Nuclear Blast


Line up:

Ross Dolan | vocals & bass
Robert Vigna | guitar
Bill Taylor | guitar
Steve Shalaty | drums


Yonkers' death metal legends Immolation return with this, their ninth album in over twenty years active as one of death metal's premier acts.

The title track is up first and sets out the band's mission from the off: to slay the listener with precise and clear death metal. “Bound To Order” follows with surgical precision and good structure. Blasts and mid paced tempos abound as the record demonstrates a very muscular production- sounds like this would have been unthinkable back at the genre's inception.

Keep to Silence” starts off slow and groove laden but reaches warp speed in places- some capable solo work shreds through the speakers as the band play tight and ring the changes. The shift back to slow pace works brilliantly and the layers of guitars are a real treat. Virtuoso skills here!

God Complex” roars out of the traps with a riff of twists and turns as the twin guitar format is put to good use and the bass drums roll. Discordant riffing prevails and there are even some good grooves too. The “tanks rolling” kind of sound that the best death metal has is present and correct, which is most pleasing.

“Echoes of Despair” stops and starts rhythmically to start with, showing the band's use of unusual patterns.  The riffs are jarring and the vocals deep and powerful. Again, twin guitar work is a trademark here as the gears are run through. The solo is great, the time changes exemplary. The riff that follows is brilliant too.

The pace gets picked up with “Indoctrinate” and the drums favour the tried and tested blast/roll around the kit/drop to bass drum and ride pattern. This is death metal the way you like it- American style. The political flavour of the lyrics (here and in other tracks) works well and unifies the album nicely without it being a full blown concept piece. Immolation have presented a modern album in every way but without straying from their trademark formula- no mean feat with twenty years worth of albums behind them.

“The Great Sleep” opens with rather despairing tones to the riffs but then a chugging riff takes over to again give way to a more rhythmically progressive riff to go with the verse sections. Time changes are again sprinkled liberally, as is the ever present and ever excellent solo work. A superb riff can be found at the two and a half minute mark before the band return to blasting away. The track goes on to a slower fade out- or a coda if you will that sets up “A spectacle of lies” nicely, being as it jumps in with speed and power from the get go. Very quick and very brutal, the track hits the mark well and sets up the next two tracks in style. More pinch harmonics and a nifty solo close out the song.

The penultimate track “Serving Divinity” returns lyrically to more religious themes prevalent in the band's earlier work. “All That Awaits Us” closes out proceedings with more jagged rhythmic patterns and low, low vocals. There are no very long tracks here, no really short ones. No superfluous intros, no wasted riffs. Overall, this is a very focused and toned release. The record is well paced and hangs together musically, lyrically and thematically in style. If you are looking for some classic death metal from the USA, this is a find place to find it.

Words by : Richard Maw

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links and buying their merch. This record is available everywhere now. Thanks as always to Lottie Hunt / Hollie Arup @ Nuclear Blast for the hook up.