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Immolation, ‘Kingdom of Conspiracy’ – Album Review

Immolation, 'Kingdom of Conspiracy'
Nuclear Blast Records

Immolation have been churning out their unique brand of New York death metal for 25 years now. Every album is an exercise in technical proficiency married with an absolutely hellacious atmosphere soaked in blast beats and Ross Dolan’s trademark guttural vocals. ‘Kingdom of Conspiracy’ is the quartet’s newest slab of brutality and marks the band’s finest album from this incarnation that solidified a decade ago.

The title track opens the album and doesn’t waste any time getting to the point. Some quick riffing and militaristic drumming serve as a brief intro before Dolan’s vocals come bursting onto the scene and it’s not too long before we hear the famed “BUH!” from the exceptionally long-haired bassist. ‘Bound To Order’ keeps the pace going as guitar wizard Bob Vigna starts to display his criminally underrated chops and songwriting abilities. The pinch harmonics in the chorus are reminiscent of Godflesh’s masterwork ‘Streetcleaner’ and you won’t hear a complaint about it.

As Immolation spew forth their death metal maelstrom over the next couple songs, it becomes increasingly hard to ignore that this album is of higher quality than their last few releases. The New Yorkers haven’t haven’t exactly been slouches, but there was just something missing over the last 10 years and they had started to sound a bit domesticated.

Founding guitarist Bob Vigna and 12-year Immolation veteran Bill Taylor weave their guitar playing around each other in malevolent harmony that truly give these songs some depth. The songwriting is diverse with some slower (for Immolation’s standards anyway) jams like “Keep The Silence” and “Echoes of Despair” that steamroll their way through the brain. Technicality fights against the more Neanderthal groove riffs on this album in a slugfest rather than a delicate balance being maintained between the two.

This is the best Immolation album since the landmark ‘Close to a World Below.’ One can even draw comparisons between the two with the sense of urgency this album creates as it all coalesces into the final track ‘All That Awaits Us.’ The song resembles parts of the title track from the aforementioned masterpiece in riffing and album finality.

‘Kingdom of Conspiracy’ features phenomenal guitar playing, more cleverly placed pinch harmonics than Zakk Wylde can shake a pick at, plenty examples of Dolan shouting “BUH!” and Steve Shalaty’s best drum work since he joined the band 10 years ago. Immolation fire on all cylinders with this disc and successfully channel all the elements of their critically acclaimed albums from early in their career. Just don’t call it a comeback because Immolation never left.

4 Stars

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