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Confirming that Immolation is (still) the best. - 100%

Ad_van_den_Boom, June 27th, 2009

Yesterday – June 25th 2009 – the ‘king of pop’ died. Also yesterday the kings of death metal played an awesome gig in club Vera at Groningen, the Netherlands. The crowd was being remembered once more that Immolation is still alive and kicking; and kicking HARD.

The audience reflected the polarization that has gradually formed in the ideas and tastes of death metal hordes worldwide: the 30-plus ‘veterans’ largely outnumbered the 16 year old metalcore kids at this event and people may argue that Immolation has to be considered as an ‘aged’ band. Some of the teenagers however sported Kreator ‘Pleasure to kill’ shirts by example and went out of their fucking heads just as much as the longhaired, massively headbanging ‘elderly’ people. When after a crushing 70 minutes set list the godly Immolation climbed the stage once more to treat the midlife metal heads to ‘Dawn of possession’, the Immolation-family (as Ross Dolan calls it paternally) re-united forces and the abundantly sweating crowd together with the youngsters of french label mates Gorod downstage – who opened the show perfectly for Immolation – even established a classic mosh pit, a rarity these days. What happened to the stage diving generation by the way; they probably produced children and show responsible parental behavior… and tell their offspring NOT to stage dive at shows of their favorite nu-metal bands, because it is really dangerous!

This gap between people who still consider Morbid Angel and Immolation as co-founders and innovators of the genre, and 16-year-olds who were not even born yet when Immolation started their “20 years of burning chaos” has, by natural evolution, widened to an abyss. Thus it makes perfectly sense that some of the 16-year-olds indeed do not understand the intrinsic value of bands like Immolation – and for that matter Repulsion – and disqualify their classic albums as pathetic and weak. A new generation has come to life and so with them new heroes.

So Darwin’s laws also apply to death metal. Luckily for the Immolation-family their base is the MIGHTIEST on earth. The broad, strong stem of the Immolation-tree-of-brotherhood even sprouts some new branches once in a while. Yesterday Dolan announced that Immolation will move from Listenable to Nuclear Blast: a new album will be recorded this autumn and released at the beginning of 2010. That means new blood again in the veins of death metal and definitely some new youngsters will be enlightened by the coming darkness. What to say then about the current album ‘Shadows in the Light’?

Shadows in the light shows Immolation returning somewhat to the glory of ‘Close to a world below’ and ‘Unholy cult’. The flirting with slightly more accessible song structures of ‘Harnessing ruin’ has been swept away with pitch-dark, heavy death metal full of emotion. Immolation are the masters of death metal not because they are the fastest, neither because they are the most technical or most innovative; they are the true kings of death metal because their songs are unparalleled in black, evocative POWER. The combination of Dolan’s deep vocals and Vigna's very own complex riffing and soloing is phenomenal. Of course Immolation tracks follow the same pattern quite often, but one cannot find two songs on their seven studio albums that do not really differ from each other (try Cannibal Corpse on this litmus test).

‘Hate’s plague’ is a very gripping opener. From the very first riff and chords the plague “rises and takes shape through fear” and Immolation brings the listener indeed the bloodshed it so desires. It’s a short track for Immolation standards and changes without hesitation into the second song ‘Passion kill’ which bears some traces of the ‘Harnessing ruin’ concept: it’s very pounding and commanding. This is what headbangers crave for and makes them smash their heads into fucking concrete! The lyrics of ‘Passion kill’ are enchanting and one just wants to scream with Dolan “God will embrace you, god will raise you, god will comfort you, god will save you!” and then, counterbalancing: “God will punish you, god will torture you, god will silence you, god will destroy you!”

Track 3 ‘World agony’ is a classic already and will probably remain on Immolations set list for quite some years to come. ‘Tarnished’ (track 4) seems a bit less standing out at first, but when listening well, some new, very short, guitar effects at the end of the chorus give the song a very dark and bleak feeling. These string-abusements tar your soul indeed. A very compelling song, just like the final six tracks; judge for yourself.

Steve Shalaty (drums) proves for the second time to be a worthy replacement of Alex Hernandez. Go witness Immolation live on stage and the craftsmanship of these four guys is immediate and undisputable. This album deserves 95 points at least. Personal favorites remain ‘Close to a world below’ and ‘Dawn of possession’ but the last 5 points are added for GREATNESS. Thank you, Immolation. For bonding us metal hordes, for advancing the troops and most of all: for always being on the road to LEAD us into darkness.