Shadows in the Light

When the staff here at Digital metal was asked who wanted to review the new Immolation there we no immediate takers, which surprised me. I offered to review it even though I’m not considered a death metal guy, I had already bought my own copy. I said I was a fan and had the first three albums as well, so here I am reviewing the disc. Turns out I own the first five albums, I guess I’m a bigger fan than I thought, or maybe not, since I didn’t remember buying two albums… but anyway, to me Immolation is synonymous with consistency. They developed a style and stuck with it, polishing it and perfecting it along the way, with slight divergences here and there, they basically said changing times are irrelevant, we play what we play take it or leave it. The Overkill of death metal.

Two things stand out for me, the total devotion to discord, and the adherence to antichristian themes, even if the lyrics are a bit toned down this time. I don’t know if the death metal world at large considers this technical death metal, but I do. The guys may not be musical prodigies, but careful attention to detail both in the songwriting stage and in the recording session is evident and the riffs are heavy and memorable while having a melodic flow that does not scream pretentiousness. Ross Dolan does an excellent job with the vocals once again, the model of consistency. I don’t know if your average metal newbie can understand every word on first listen but all of us seasoned metalheads appreciate a guy that can deliver this level of clarity without sacrificing the roar. The drums are some of the most intense out there, outweighing the guitars in importance. The guitarists, I don’t know who is playing particular parts, Bill or Bob, so as a tandem, the guitarists do an excellent job riff after riff, weaving a pattern that does not seem to have a pattern but is not entirely linear either. “Delivers of Evil” and “Shadows in the Light” are both standout tracks for the guitarists. I really enjoyed the intro to “Whispering Death” it reminded me of “Those Left Behind” and the rest of the song is excellent as well. Is Shadows In The Light the equal to Dawn of Possession or Here In After? I’m not sure yet, after I give it a few years of play time I’ll let you know, but at this point I will place it third on their release list behind only those two. Now I feel I inspired to go out and find a copy of Harnessing Ruin, the only one I do not own.

There are probably a fair number of death bands out there that are more intense or more melodic, or less melodic or more wall of noise or whatever, Immolation are more understated, less extreme I guess, not in a more accessible to the masses kind of way but in a we don’t need to be flamboyant to get your attention kind of way, more believable maybe, a band that both deserves your loyalty and consistently proves they are glad to have it. Alienating old fans in the hopes of gaining new ones is not what they are about. Go out and get this album, get an Immolation shirt while you’re at it and wear it with pride.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
November 7th, 2007


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