I don’t think I need to provide an introduction to Immolation. 29 years of exemplary death metal speaks for itself.
In that time, they’ve released ten full length albums, Atonement being the latest. Throughout its 45 minute running time, Atonement proves why they have become one of the masters of their genre. From barely the first chords of opener ‘The Distorting Light’ Immolation let rip.
Atonement is an interesting listen, as it sees both their signature grooves and technicalities in full flight. At once both are apparent, yet neither element is forced into prominence over the other. Additionally, Immolation have their sound down to such a well-worn craft that each track is accessible in its own right, tightly compacted without getting too drawn out or repetitive.
The album is packed full of highlights. From Robert Vigna’s infectious and creative riffs and leads that anchor every track, from the brief (comparatively) moments of respite from the unrelenting brutality that tracks like ‘Rise the Heretics’ and ‘Lower’ offer. Many tracks, such as the aforementioned ‘Rise the Heretic,’ feature an almost rallying, or lowering of the gauntlet chorus. A call to battle among the illimitable chaos, an attribute that is sure to help these tracks become live set staples, if some of them aren’t already.
Lyrically, we know what to expect from Immolation. Atonement works quite well on that front as it reiterates to the listener exactly how much more driven Immolation are when they’re tackling the subject of religion. True, in extreme metal it’s an oft-trodden path, but Immolation put their own stamp on it, and it works.
As stated, the album is full of highlights. It would even work as a good starting point into their storied career. Potential new listeners may even only need to listen to album closer ‘Epiphany’ to gain an understanding of how much of one listening to Immolation can be.
1. The Distorting Light
2. When the Jackals Come
3. Fostering the Divide
4. Rise the Heretics
5. Thrown to the Fire
6. Destructive Currents
9. Above All
10. The Power of Gods