Immolation
Kingdom of Conspiracy

Aside from their almost iconic band logo, not much has changed with Immolation throughout the years. When they first bombarded the world with their debut album Dawn of Possession back in 1991, Immolation established themselves as one of the most brutal and uncompromising death metal bands on the planet. Fast forward more than twenty years and they remain as such.

Sure, there have been thousands of bands that have come and gone since Immolation became an established monolith in the death metal realm. But few have been able to match what the Yonkers, New York veterans have accomplished throughout their career. Immolation came around at a time when the extreme metal scene first really exploded and unlike many of their brethren, they’ve weathered the various storms and remain one of death metal’s most important acts.

After eight full-length albums and two EPs, Immolation sounds as unrelenting and barbaric on their newest opus Kingdom of Conspiracy. Save for a more polished production on the new long player, the same basic Immolation formula remains as intact as ever. Founding members Robert Vigna (guitars) and Ross Dolan (bass, vocals) still rip out the brutality with ease and their frenzied attack is as frenetic as ever. Psychotic solos explode from the speakers out in front of a pummeling drum assault and savage riffs, all the while maintaining that classic controlled chaos they’ve been known for many a year.

Kingdom of Conspiracy is no different, though the album is more accessible than their previous efforts. Maybe it’s a matter of being more mature as songwriters, but this version of Immolation is a bit more refined in their delivery. Though there are still plenty of moments when the band goes absolutely apeshit, the songs that comprise Kingdom of Conspiracy are among the catchiest and most memorable in the band’s history. Whether it’s the terrific slow rolling destruction of “The Great Sleep”, the brutal-yet-groovy “Indoctrinate”, or the sheer voracity of “Bound to Order”, Immolation in 2013 has more going for them than arguably any other time in their history.

Immolation, for the most part, has always been a band that was a little bit too reckless and chaotic for its own good. Their brutality often got in the way of their songwriting, making for albums that had great moments, but not a great overall product. With Kingdom of Conspiracy, the New Yorkers seemingly have taken a step back and decided to really express themselves and their talents with much smoother delivery. When they switch gears from sheer mayhem to a slower, crushing riff and vice versa, the transition is seamless (“A Spectacle of Lies”, “Keep the Silence”) whereas the case was not always so.

Maybe it’s all the years of being among the second tier of great American death metal bands (like it or not, Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation, Morbid Angel and Deicide always nabbed the attention much more than Immolation) that has paid dividends for the quartet. It just feels like Immolation finally has broken through with an album that doesn’t have a weak song in entire bunch. While each passage on Kingdom of Conspiracy follows the Immolation blueprint, they are all varied enough in their approach and/or composition where they all can stand out on their own. This is a feat that, in this scribe’s opinion, was never something Immolation was able to do. Ever.

The only real drawback about the album is that it comes off as a bit too polished. The guitars are cutting and abrasive enough, but Steve Shalaty’s drums have been watered down quite a bit in the studio. Where his drums should be so thunderous that the listener begs for mercy, his assault – especially the toms and the kick drums – are too thin and tinny. It’s a shame, too, because had Shalaty’s remarkable performance had a production to run parallel with his battery prowess, this album would have been an absolute monster.

Still, Kingdom of Conspiracy is a terrific release from one of the longest-running American death metal bands today. Immolation has done and seen it all and after enjoying a sizeable amount of success throughout the years, the time has come for them to release their most complete album to date. It’s loaded with everything that makes death metal such a great genre of music and the album’s mishaps are kept at a bare minimum. Nicely done, guys.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mike Sloan
May 14th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Kevin E.

    I really dug this too… strong album.


  2. Commented by: Vamsi

    Good review, guess I’ll order this and was hoping would not read this line in specific, guess it comes with time and technology – “The only real drawback about the album is that it comes off as a bit too polished”


  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    No surprise that Immolation have put out yet other amazing album… but I agree the drum sound is too triggered / clicky and is mixed a bit too loud. One part of me would love to hear a bizarro world version of this band where they pursued a murky, inhospitable sound ala Teitanblood or Antediluvian.


  4. Commented by: Count Breznak

    While there are no really weak songs on this album, there aren’t any really outstanding ones, either. It’s an ok album, but far from their best.


  5. Commented by: skodag

    Uninspired riffs. Shitty drum sound. Generic song writing. Boring album is boring.


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