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For starters, there are many Christian deathcore bands out there; In the Midst of Lions, Underneath the Gun, With Blood Comes Cleansing, etc. But what makes Impending Doom stand out among the rest is that it’s not only one of the heaviest deathcore albums there is, but because of the sheer guttural power of Brook Reeves’ vocals.
The guitars gurgle throughout and the drums are impressively technical and fast for deathcore (think along the lines of later Misericordiam speed), but the vocals are what steal the show. Brook Reeves’ vocals sound like a freight train bulleting down a tunnel about to crush all the sinners that ever doubted Christianity. The breakdowns are brutally simplistic, with single, double, and triple note variations slowly chugged out. Over the breakdowns Reeves’ voice changes between low shouts (almost hardcore-esque) and gutturals that sound like they’re coming from Big Chocolate himself. The breakdowns aren’t drawn out too long and aren’t littered throughout every song (usually one per song).
From the first main track, My Nemesis, it's clear that they mean business. The guitars are tuned down to Dying Fetus level and deliver an immediate punishment to the listener. Unlike most deathcore bands, they vary both their time signatures and breakdown patterns to keep their audience captivated. The highlight of the album comes at the third track, "In Reverence of." The song starts off with strong grind elements, very similar to something along the lines of brutal death metal. At about a minute and a half in, there is a slow build up into one of the heaviest breakdowns on the album. The recording of the breakdown is heavier on their "Sin and Doom of Godless Men" album, but only because it has Brook's gutturals/squeals layered over the raw production of the breakdown. Nailed.Dead.Risen.'s version of the breakdown has much cleaner production and helps deliver a low-tuned breakdown that would surprise even long time deathcore fans.
The only thing that detracts from the album is the redundancy of some of the songs. The songs without a central breakdown lack variety and are often overlooked and generally skipped by myself. However, considering it's such a small portion of the songs themselves, it really is only a small detraction. The songs themselves are still solid songs in and of themselves, but in comparison to the overarching power of the rest of the album, they come up rather short in the grand scheme of things.
In comparison to other deathcore albums, this is a phenomenal album. The fact that they’re growling about Christianity instead of sodomy (Annotations of an Autopsy) and being commercially successful is in and of itself impressive. Between skull-shattering breakdowns, brain pummeling drums, and some of the lowest guitar tones in deathcore, this is a must have for anyone who enjoys Christian metal, deathcore, or brutal death metal.
My Nemesis, In Reverence of, Nailed. Dead. Risen., Condemned
Impending Doom sure did start their career with an insane debut and they definitely did make it clear that they're a band that is much more than just meets the eye. While being a Christian band, the cover art alone is about the least Christian-looking thing you can come to imagine to picture in your mind. But let alone if you read between the lines of the cover image to discover that the man rising above the endless piles of corpses in the image is priest along with taking another note that the structure that still stands (and is possibly the only thing shown not destroyed in the picture) is a church, it becomes clear that this cover is pretty much spot-on accuracy of what their music is; extremely violent and excessively heavy music, yet is 100% Christian.
This band loves their religion and makes it clear in their lyrics. The music itself is absolutely amazing. If I could describe it, it would be brutal death metal meets goregrind. Although some people say this album is deathcore, I find this highly inaccurate. While Impending Doom's LATER sound seems to display more of a Whitechapel-esque deathcore sound, this album sounds nothing of the sort. This album (and the band's 2005 demo The Sin and Doom of Godless Men) sound like Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Exhumed, Carcass and Aborted all had some insane gore sex and had this baby as a result that decided to be a born Christian. This album is definitely not deathcore, yes it has a few breakdowns but so do Suffocation (which the band show an obvious influence from in their music). Speaking of this band's breakdowns, I just want to say they come in especially amazing on this record than any later Impending Doom album, mainly because the band's immense "wall" sound they have on here (if you want to personify the sound, a "wall" is definitely the best way to describe it) sounds almost as if the entire wall is literally falling down on you everytime they unleash a breakdown. I usually hate breakdowns, but the ones this band have are worthwhile and never overdone. My personal favorite on the whole record would be the one(s) in "The Mark of the Faithful".
By reading the linear notes, it states this album actually holds three guitarists which doesn't surprise me being that I would imagine that "wall" sound I was speaking of earlier would near be impossible if they had one less. Manny Contreras' leads are slightly above average at best. He does nothing too mindblowing, but he certainly seems to enjoy his tremolos and few sweeps every now and then. Most notably his main riff in "Condemned" seem to be the most interesting thing he does on the record. Although not a bad guitar player on this album, I would just have to say a solo wouldn't kill him. As for bass, David Sittig's bass playing surprisingly is audible every now and then, such as two times in "Condemned" (where the bassist even gets to have his own bass break) and in a few other songs if pay close enough attention. He puts in some harsh bass drops too right before majority of the breakdowns on this record.
Finally as for drumming, their drummer while he had a more realistic drumming sound on their demo; here he sounds like triggers were used. I can't specifically tell if he's using authentic drums on this release but nevertheless his drumming is alright. He puts in a few snare fills every now and then such as in "My Nemesis" and his symbol chokes such as right before the guitar breaks in "Silence the Oppressors" fit in better with the music than they did on the demo. Sadly though, his symbols seem to be the most quiet thing on the album while his snare is one of the loudest things. Production could have been done a bit better in his case, but nothing too much worth throwing a fit over.
The last tracks on the album such as the re-recording of "For All Those Sinned" and "Feeding the Decomposing", while not so different from everything else you already sat for more than a half-hour of listening to this. I just want to say that unfortunately enough the "For All Those Sinned" re-recording had better parts worthwhile on the demo than on here, such as the insane screams that Reeves had on the demo during the lyric "good men sizzle through ignorance" were replaced with more of the same growl he does on pretty much this entire record, but thankfully the pig squeals on that song were removed as well in the process. As for the very last track "He's Coming Back", this song seems to sound like a very terrifying and heavy instrumental piece backed by people screaming (not musically screaming, screaming as in screaming for their lives) and ends short before you hear silence and then a hidden track which seems to be out-takes of the band in the studio complete with them laughing while attempting to sound serious while stating the spoken line "we are the gospel" that is heard in the song "Silence the Oppressors". Now I have nothing against bands doing this, but this just pretty much killed the mood of the whole record. I mean yeah, as much I would love to hear the band having a good time while giggling at how they can't sound serious during a vocal take, it just didn't fit in with how serious the whole album leading up to the terrifying final track. They should have put this hidden track on a bonus disc or at least an unlisted track 12 so it wouldn't have to interfere with the mood they just set with their music, which is pretty much one of the arts of creating music.
All in all; Nailed. Dead. Risen. is one hell of a debut. If you love brutal death metal-esque tunes with an immense rampaging "wall of sound", I would definitely recommend this record. Especially since it's catchy in a number of parts. I mean after all; Christianity IS fucking brutal, those that actually read the Bible won't need this album to find that out.
I'm beginning to contradict myself. In a review I did quite some time ago for I Declare War's "Amidst The Bloodshed" I said I didn't like this album based purely on the lyrics, but now I realise that's a pretty moronic reason, because the music here is actually decent and the lyrics aren't particularly prominent (due to the vocalist being almost completely unintelligible).
The band's aim here is to fuse brutal death metal with deathcore, which can end up going incredibly right (the first Whitechapel and Annotations of an Autopsy albums) or disastrously wrong (Chelsea Grin, King Conquer). It works out (mostly) in Impending Doom's favour. Yeah this isn't very technical or original or anything like that, but I don't think that's what they were aiming for.
Impending Doom are different from the rest of the pack in some ways, however. Yes, they follow the typical groove/breakdown/blast structure, but they don't have anything that could be seen as a chorus, they usually use only one breakdown a song (usually after quite a bit of build-up) and don't really have many quotable lines that the live crowd can shout along to before they commence swinging their limbs everywhere.
The guitar work consists of basic tremolo riffs mixed with quite varied breakdowns (about as varied as you can get with breakdowns anyway). These breakdowns are actually quite well placed within the song structure. Instead of having a breakdown that leads into a slower breakdown which goes even further into another even slower breakdown, they opt instead to have one breakdown after a faster bit, play it for a few seconds and then go right back into another faster part. Rarely do they use those outro breakdowns that finish the song and make it feel incomplete. While at times these breakdowns do get a bit drawn out and dull, they're still miles better than all those thousands of bands who think using the same one note chugs for an entire album. Occasionally they may throw in some pinch harmonics, maybe just for the sake of variation, as they don't particularly lead into anything.
The bass isn't there apart from literally two seconds on "Condemned", so I can't really talk about that. The drumwork is actually pretty technical, when compared to the rest of the music. While they don't do anything particularly memorable, they aren't just basic triggered blasts (though they do have a bit of that).
The vocalist uses 2 styles and 2 styles only. One is burped inhaled gurgles that take up 85% of the album, and the other 15% is a more mid-range growl, just to stop the gurgles becoming boring, I suppose. He is a very brutal vocalist and it's nice to hear a band not trying to be the next Mitch Lucker and having a generic growl with painful fry screams.
Despite all the good things about this album, it does have a number of bad things. For a start, the intro is pathetic in every way. Some pathetic prayer from some guy wanting to rid the world of all sin. It's just so unnecessary and if you're not laughing at how cringeworthy it is you should be. The Christian theme of this intro continues into the lyrics, which i've already stated are absolutely dreadful. Only read them out of utmost curiosity. They even managed to make this into a subculture just for their band and their fans, called "gorship" (that's "gore" and "worship", folks). The concept is fucking ridiculous and they should stop using their Christianity as a way to get noticed.
Finally, the outro, titled "He's Coming Back". If this is your first listen to this album and you see the final song is 6 minutes, compared to the rest that range from 2-3 minutes in length, you'd think this track is an epic closer, perhaps with a wicked solo or something. It starts off on a good note, with some interesting harmonies and quite a dark atmosphere, with some scream sound effects with the vocalist chanting "HE'S! COMING! BACK!" (I assume he means Jesus) over and over. But then at about 1:25 it finishes. Silence. What the hell is going on? Skip ahead a bit, and you'll hear the band fucking around in the studio. What a waste of 5 minutes where they really could've done something brilliant.
All I can say is this album is very brutal and very enjoyable. Not something you'd listen to over and over and over again, but if you can appreciate and enjoy this style of brutal deathcore i'm sure you can give this album a go.
...and avoid their new stuff. It sucks. Really, really bad.
Highlights: My Nemesis, Condemned
I'm a person likes to argue, a lot. Especially about music. So, listening to a good amount of underground metal, it tends to put me at odds with most people my age (20) who live and breathe metalcore and deathcore in terms of heavy music, and whatever the radio throws at them for everything else. But, for the sake of fairness, I've decided to review a bunch of metalcore and deathcore albums, as well as to argue my point better. And that is how I got into reviewing this album. I fully expected to hate this album, but after listening to it, my response is an indifferent one. Stuff like this isn't distinct enough in terms of originality or quality to warrant any kind of hate. If I had to pick an album to represent what deathcore is, this would probably be it. It's the most run of the mill album you can think of, with a few great ideas, a few awful ones, and the majority of ideas you can't even remember because of their blandness. In a way, it's kind of like fast food:quick, somewhat tasty and not too complex or challenging.
Being a Christian band, the intro piece not surprisingly is a prayer. Now it would actually fit this kind of boisterous, straightforward deathcore if it was confident statement of faith or of their belief in Christ's victory over Satan, but instead it sounds like the person praying is trying to keep himself from crying. It makes no sense when the music kicks in after the sample. Much like the intro, Christianity dominates the lyrical content of the album. I can't actually tell what they are saying and had to look up the lyrics, but they are really just amateurish proselytizing lyrics on the same level of competency as bedroom black metal Satanic lyrics or flower metal fantasy lyrics. I'm not inherently against Christian lyrics, if they are good, like in Blind Guardian's 'Precious Jerusalem' or Grave Diggers 'Last Supper' album. But, since I can't make them out they don't take away from the album at all. The bad Christian metal bands I've heard are bad because they can't make music, not because they are Christian.
The vocalist and drums sit right at the top of the production, which is this album's most glaring flaw. The drums have that ultra clear but still somewhat thin and hollow sound that wouldn't be out of place in any high budget mainstream metal band like Trivium or Lamb of God. Percussion mostly consists of mid-paced blast beats, slow double bass work, basic fills, and syncopated drumming in breakdowns. The vocalist does a combination of a throaty hardcore scream and a brutal death metal growl, but only really nails the hardcore part of it correctly. What results is a 'burping' version of a hardcore scream. It's very mediocre, but it wouldn't be annoying if he actually shut up once in a while; he just keeps going on and on, and while this happens the drums are as loud as ever and it sometimes buries whatever the guitars are doing.
Speaking of the guitars, there are mostly mundane and average deathcore type riffs, and a few moments of brilliance that shine out every so often. Most of the time, the guitars play quick tremolo runs backed by rapid fire vocals which is actually quite enjoyable if not particularly inventive or technical, and the other type of guitar work that doesn't take place in breakdowns are the three or four note slam death chugs; unfortunately these end up being much less enjoyable. The breakdowns themselves are either your one note syncopated breakdowns or slow slam chugs. At times the breakdowns work, but just as often then drag the songs down into boredom and kill the momentum of the music by being carried out too long.
As individual tracks go, the entire song 'condemned' is excellent, featuring a small breakdown near the beginning that picks right back up again into a fast paced section. 'At the Churches' End' is another decent mostly fast paced song, and there is an interesting tremolo melody that is played over in a breakdown from another song. 'Feeding the Decomposing' features an oddly timed angular main riff and features breakdowns that know when to end and return back to the fast paced stuff. 'He's Coming Back' only features one riff supported by keyboards and screams of terror for about a minute in a half, then for no reason at all there are two minutes of silence followed by the band dicking around; this track really has no reason to exist and fails to close the album well. The opening half of tracks are too bland for me to remember so I can't comment on them as they went in one ear and out the other.
Make no mistake, this is big, dumb, heavy and stupid deathcore, but it's strength is that it's not trying to pass itself as anything else like Suicide Silence saying they have black metal influence or Winds of Plague trying to be symphonic. If you're not looking for anything but a simple deathcore album, you'll be happy to have this album. If you are looking for a masterpiece or something deep and substantive go somewhere else.
Christian Deathcore. If that doesn't send you running in terror, maybe the lyrical concept of "G-orship" will. Impending Doom are one of the leaders of the growing movement to scare nonbelievers into church with lyrics that only Torquemada would approve of. Fortunately, the music is as boring as reading Leviticus and the only thing scary about this band is the image they give me of Jesus' second coming.
Deathcore isn't a genre known for its musical depth or substance. You can probably find more depth in the latest Lindsey Lohan CD than in the entire genre of Deathcore. Impending Doom aren't an exception. I have to wonder if they have ever heard of the concept of songwriting before. There is absolutely NOTHING to be found here to draw you into the music. This is deathcore, so don't even expect solid riffs or well-developed song structure. All of the riffs are unmemorable and unimaginative. Even when they try to "diversify" with tremolo riffing, the guitars still can't warrant any attention. The drums are triggered and unremarkable. I wouldn't be surprised if the drummer spent more time at the computer than at the drum set. Vocals are pitchshifted and monotonous, quite possibly one of the worst performances I have ever had the displeasure of hearing. The usual draw for the genre are the breakdowns, which the songs are centered on. The breakdowns here are dull and humdrum, half-assed doesn't even begin to describe them. I might not like breakdowns, but I can't imagine anyone thinking these are in anyway good.
All of the songs sound the same and have no character to them at all. This is due to Impending Doom not relying on any type of songwriting technique (riffs, hooks, breakdowns). It's all fast part, BREAKDOWN, BREE-BREE, drums triggering along, repeat for 3 minutes (yawn). The songs leave no memorable impression and the only thing I can directly attribute to any song is the vocalist shouting "Nailed, Dead, Risen!" at the beginning of said track. I think radio static is better than this.
The only remarkable trait that Impending Doom can claim to have is their "unique" lyrical approach. Before I start, having Christian lyrics does not inherently make your music or even your lyrics, bad. My favorite band, Saint Vitus, had some thoughtful and well-written lyrics that came from a Christian perspective. Even Sabbath had some songs (After Forever, Lord of This World) that could be deemed Christian. But Impending Doom are proselytizing, not making artistic statements. I would've liked to be there when they came up with the idea of "Gorship". "Dude, you know how we love Jesus and stuff, but we like death metal?""Yeah dude, but God is pretty badass!""Word! Hey brah, you know how the kids like killing and gore and stuff in the lyrics? How about we like, you know, write like Christian gore lyrics and shit and we call it like, Gorship, you know like gore and worship combined in one word, dude?""Dude, that's the best fucking idea EVER!" (I'm sure it went exactly like this)
Here's some jaw dropping poetry they wrote:
"My sinister mind, a containment for evil. It is my false identity, telling me to feed my rotting flesh - my most sickest of desires. Compromise, rationalize,questioning my joy in you. Why do i surround myself with the seductions of this place and expect my rewards? I can see your blood on the floor taking my punishment. Your grace and love is heaven sent. My bodies the infested, the disease, rip me out of me, dwell in me oh God. Give me the faith and in my believing, your kingdom will be revealed."
Wouldn't it be a more effective strategy for converting skeptics if you wrote nice, happy music for your faithful lyrics? Making dark and oppressive music for a supposed positive message seems counterproductive and I'm sure only the Inquisition and hardcore Calvinists think of Christianity as a dark religion (and they would hate this music too). The name Impending Doom is a reference to what will happen to nonbelievers and that seems a tad rough for saying your open-minded and loving. But at least their name doesn't sound like it came from a neo-Nazi pamphlet (With Blood Comes Cleansing, is that Jew blood?)
There is one item that redeems (woah!) Nailed.Dead.Risen and that is the final track, He's Coming Back. It's an ominous synth-led piece that would fit perfectly in a horror film. In the one shining moment of their career, they give the image of Christ coming back to earth with a hockey mask and a machete and looking for horny teenagers to slice and dice(who knew Jason Voorhes could be a Christ-like figure?!) All 15 points awarded to the score come from this one track.
Nailed. Dead. Risen a perfect example of something going wrong in Death Metal's migration from the working class slums of Stockholm to the comfy suburbs of Southern California. Hopefully, the band mates will leave the metal scene and go back to making the standard CCM fare of MercyMe.
This is exactly the sort of thing I like in deathcore; it's really not self-conscious at all and the band makes absolutely no effort to make any more than breakdowns and grinding tremolo riffs. They happen to talk about Jesus, but I don't really care since their music is better than about 90% of secular bands out there. This is perhaps as stripped-down as deathcore can possibly get, and it plays like a jaunt through a Wikipedia article on the genre. It's fucking AWESOME.
This is a lot like Waking The Cadaver in essence, but with a more binary sense of structure. It follows the tried and true blast/groove format, but it's oddly devoid of bridges or, for that matter, anything that isn't part of that format. It's kind of cool that a lot of the faster sections aren't pure blasting; they reside more in the realm of uptempo thrash beats. The tremolo riffs are surprisingly memorable at times, especially when you're dealing with a form of music when they're generally just used to build tension for release at the breakdowns.
The breakdowns are AMAZING. They're incredibly dumb and generally feature only one chord a piece. They all sound the same. It's so goddamn stupid, I just completely love it. It probably sounds so great because the vocals are very aggressive, the guitars are tuned to fucking Zb or something, and the drums have a really fantastic, snappy tone. The production as a whole is a triumph. The guitars are sick and massive, must be layered like thirty times, and the drums are particularly notable; the snare especially has a really brutal sound that I greatly enjoy, kind of reminds me of Morbid Angel's 'Covenant'.
It seems silly to me for people to actually get angry about music like this and talk about how much it sucks. It's not like this album is attempting to be fucking 'In The Nightside Eclipse' or whatever high-minded thing you want it to be. It's nothing but breakdowns and tremolo riffs and whining about that is sort like whining about Mortician having too many samples and not enough acoustic guitar parts. It's just about the purest form of deathcore I can imagine and as such most of you reading this will probably hate it, but if you love massive, thunderous breakdowns and buzzing tremolo riffs you'll likely enjoy this as much as I do.
Impending Doom: guttural, slammin', U.S. deathcore.
Trust me, it's as dull as the description could lead you to believe. Oh yeah, they're also Christian. And not in a subtle, As I Lay Dying-fashion. They're more like Mortification - adamant, prideful, and teeth-gratingly bad. For a good, hearty chuckle, trying thumbing through the lyric booklet as you listen. Matching the touching messages with the generic vocals is truly hilarious, especially when the "br00tal" breakdowns barge in. Musically, well... if Pyrexia appeals to retarded, mesh-shorts wearing jockos, Impending Doom will drag in their children. It's "scene" to like this band. Just like Waking The Cadaver, and Suicide Silence, or Job For A Cowboy. They're inaccesibly "METAL" enough to alienate the majority of the Christian demograph, but not enough as to repel the spikey haired, quasi-agnostic, body-mod junkies with girlfriends who wear Happy Bunny t-shirts and listen to Snow Patrol.
Musically, there really isn't much I haven't commented on yet. It's the standard 'weedly weedly' "tech" guitar playing with loving spoonfuls of stereotypical, cymbal-heavy, pit-friendly breakdowns and an incompetent vocalist. On one hand, this genre makes me hopeful that one day the listeners will expand to include heavier music in their pallets, but on the other hand... this shit is awful and seems to give the listeners an undeserved sense of accomplishment. Don't ask me why, it's just an observation... some might argue these bands helped their douchbaggery come to full bloom.
Impending Doom, I dub thee "t-shirtcore".
This CD blew me away. If this is Christian music, then this is reason #3 why i converted back to Christianity (Because these guys will track me down and kill me!)
Anyhoo, this is my first review in quite some time and I don't remember how I used to do it, so I'll cut to the chase.
Vocals: only marginally weak point. This guy is GOOD! I believe there is a name for the way he growls (more like pukes into the microphone). He is exceptionally good at what he does, I just prefer other deathgrowl styles.
Drums: Like God pounding 1000 searing hot lead nails into Satan's face (sorry, those of you who worship the Dark Lord)! Those of you who might have read other reviews I've written will know I LOVE drums, and they sound awesome here! Primarily blastbeats, but this guy knows how to be varied. Lots of extreme tempo shifts and breakdowns here.
Guitars: Beginning to sound monotonous here, but Impending Doom's guitarists are also very, very good. The guitars are often very low tuned (Those of you who might have read other reviews I've written will know I don't know a lot of music terminology; maybe the term I'm searching for is "heavily downtuned"). Due to this, it sounds really, really heavy. However, for all you numetal/metalcore haters or fans, there is a lot of "start/stop" guitarwork. Of course, I have a hard time hearing bass guitar, but I'm sure that's excellent as well.
Production: Pretty good, for Impending Doom being on Facedown Records, which although I don't really know, I assume is a fairly small label.
Lyrics: Irrelevant--the vocals are too unintelligible. Just bear in mind that there is a Christian-ish message contained somewhere in the flesheating toxic acid pits that are these songs.
Suggestions for buying "Nailed. Dead. Risen.": I perfectly understand that many metal fans, including Christians, do not like, endorse or support Christian metal, for many reasons: "Christian metal has a certain sound to it, that sets it apart." "I don't like the messages." "All Christian bands are either contemporary or numetal." Well, ladies and gentleman, boils and ghouls: This does not sound "Christian" in the least bit. They sound just as likely to disembowel you as any other death metal band. The messages are completely indecipherable. And, as I have viewed the lyrics books, I can inform you that the messages are soaked in blood and gore and nihilistic negativity. And this is NOT NUMETAL!!!!!!!!!!!!! There are only two people that this CD is NOT for: Hardline, hardcore Satanists, and people who don't like death metal. Buy this album to save your souls.