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Soul by soul,taken swift,like a hurricane of fire! - 86%

6CORPSE6GRINDER6, October 22nd, 2012

“Den of Thieves” is the first song on the “Hope and Horror” EP, at first glance you will notice the honest intention to return to the reckless violence they displayed on the savage “Close to a World Below”. While production on this EP is much cleaner, as it is on “Unholy Cult” and “Harnessing Ruin”, composition wise it is set to kill as they did on their most acclaimed record. The frenzy and high velocity of Immolation’s bestial onslaught continues on the second track, but this time a slow and gloomy breakdown kicks in to give more variety to the music, which is a good thing. This is one of the brightest moments of the album I must say, followed by a nasty riff that remind me the main one from “Father you are not a Father”, they remind me the swing of an axe because of their crunchy and metallic essence.

“The Struggle of Hope and Horror” is one of Immolation’s masterpieces, it truly sums up what they are as a band. The moody guitar melodies in the introduction morph into a rhythmic procession that goes incrementing its intensity to suddenly drop down again to the moody guitar melodies, inviting the listener to take a look at the abyss. Then it regains the marching beat that leads to an epic solo by Robert Vigna. Another slow and heavy riff is repeated a couple of times before they leave you alone with another twisted guitar melody… there’s a little pause and then the other guitar answers. They continue their anguish filled and urgent dialogue until another solo comes in, again by Robert Vigna but this time he shares the spotlight with his fellow guitarist Bill Taylor. After this soloing orgy more riffs utterly committed to evil and violent are thrown in mercilessly. The slow and heavy riff of the beginning is repeated again to give the song and identity, some bands end up with riff salads where there is nothing to remember in a future listen and this is not the case with Immolation, occasional repetition of movements in songs give them a lot of significance. To end the song, the slow and heavy riffs morphs conveniently into the first guitars melodies…

This EP is some kind of brother of “Shadows in the Light”, their next effort. It shows exactly where the band was pointing at, a try to regain the roughness they had refined with the years, and they did it well. You can feel the fire of their fastest and syncopated old riffs mixed with the distressed, relaxed and breathing new grooves (still thought to crush the weak of course).