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Lackluster Death Metal - 45%

Gespenster, June 20th, 2013

Immolation is one of the grand names of the death metal genre, but time may be sadly taking its toll on them. They formed back from 1986 from Yonkers, New York. Since then, they have grown a very large following, as well as a wide discography. Their best effort so far has been “Majesty and Decay” from 2010, with great sinister energy and atmosphere. However, three years later, the world would witness the release of their ninth full-length album entitled “Kingdom of Conspiracy.” Unfortunately, clunky mixing and lacking writing render this effort as not all that pleasurable.

The musicianship itself is where the problems are least prominent, but it nonetheless has a few issues. The vocals, for starters, are decently played, with sludgy low growls reigning supreme. However, when it comes to the instruments, this is where the problems begin to surface. The guitars, while playing decent, brutal riffs throughout, do become quite repetitive the further the audience delves into the album. The drums, however, are the best part of the musicianship, balancing between solidity and technicality enough for it to be a remarkable highlight. However, even then, there is a crucial problem that affects not just the percussion, but the rest of the musicianship.

This shortcoming would be the production and mixing behind this album. The drumming, while performed well, sounds too triggered and plastic, while the guitars are drowned out rather badly by the rest of the music. On top of all this, the production somewhat starves of resonance with the vocals and instruments, thus removing the possibility of “Kingdom of Conspiracy” containing an engaging atmosphere. As a result, the music sounds flat and quite hollow. Although the musicianship itself holds up relatively well, the mixing does not do it any justice.

“Kingdom of Conspiracy’s” other scathing problem is that the songwriting is also quite mediocre. Immolation continues their agenda of death metal clobbering, but the way it is planned out is not very well done. The songs in this album sound too similar to each other, especially between the title track and “Indoctrinate,” resulting from the sheer lack of dynamic and distinction. The album is just loud death metal all the way through, and there is no surplus of quieter or subtler moments to make the explosive parts more effective. On top of that, the songs themselves are monotonous as well, for the same reasons. There appears to be no attempt to build any form of peaks or bases to leave a larger impact on the audience, as described earlier. Overall, the music itself comes across as unimpressive.

Compared to its preceding releases, “Kingdom of Conspiracy” proved to be quite a letdown. However, that doesn't mean there is no silver lining to the record, either. The musicianship is decent, the lyrics are intriguing in how they depict the corruption and decay of human society, and the flaws, while significant, don’t necessarily lend the album to being a complete failure. As bland as “Kingdom of Conspiracy” turned out to be, it at least could have been much worse. However, the problem is that, once again, the flaws are significant, and outweigh the positive value of this album. Because of poor mixing and songwriting, this album is not recommended, even to loyal death metal fans. All in all, give it a pass.


Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/