Immolation
Close to a World Below


5.0
classic

Review

by Andy H. B. USER (25 Reviews)
May 6th, 2010 | 1904 replies | 56,492 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Immolation creates a violent, swirling tornado of petrifying vocals and maniacal instrumentals that manages to create the very image of being tortured in hell. A surefire death metal classic.

14 of 16 thought this review was well written

Hailing from Yonkers, New York, Immolation first began conjuring up ideas in 1986, when death metal was still in its infancy and many thrash bands were at the top of their respective games. Now, 24 years later, they are among the most praised bands in the genre, known for churning out consistently good to spectacular material, beginning with 1991's Dawn of Possession, considered as a classic of early death metal by many. Since then, several other note-worthy albums, including 1996's Here In After and their newest hell-hash, 2010's Majesty and Decay, have been released, showing that Immolation is not only persistent, but is also persistently good, something that many bands of the genre could only dream of. However, one album continues to stand above them all, one that crushes to the very bones that hold the listener together. This, my friends, is 2000's Close to a World Below. Now be prepared, as this may hurt...a lot.

As the album begins, creepy, foreboding sounds lead into the ominous line, "Didn't you say, Jesus was coming?". Then, right away, with no warning, the album introduces its demonic and diabolical sound with the opening song, "Higher Coward". Guitarists Robert Vigna and Thomas Wilkinson shred through the album with lightning-fast precision as the guitars strain under the stress of their devilish riffs and schizophrenic soloing, which embody the very image of an inferno. With often jaw-dropping technicality, these two absolutely astonish throughout the album, conjuring up visions of unhallowed chambers where the bodies lie, waiting for the fires of hell to consume them. Maximizing variety, very few of the riffs sound the same, each holding their own wicked intensity (check the title track for one of the best examples of this talent). This is one of the best examples of the utter brutality that a death metal duo can unleash on the ears, and it is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

Drumming throughout the album is positively fantastic, as mastermind Alex Hernandez lets loose a fury of abnormally speedy blast beats and dementedly complex fills that will leave most in their wake. Hernandez shows the whole package, as every part of his drum kit is rattling along at blasting speeds, even when the songs are going at a slow pace. A genuinely outstanding performance on the kit. Bassist and growler Ross Dolan contributes his share to the arsenal, as his beastly grunt dominates the album on the vocal dimension. He also has rather good diction at times, allowing for some of the predominantly anti-religious (as you would expect by the album's title), yet not overly gory lyrics to be understood. His bass is also audible in many spots throughout the record, allowing for more of the suffocating heaviness to shatter the listener's ear. On every front, this album impresses, from the damned grunts to the psychotic guitar work and the crazed drumming, it is an experience to behold.

As with many classic albums, poor tracks just avoid this album like the plague. Every song startles to the very core. If I had to pick the best example of the album's sound, I would probably pick the album closing, epic, eight and a half minute title track, "Close to a World Below". This song shows everything that the album symbolizes, and it never gets boring, as other songs of this length may. Spectacular riffs from Vigna and Wilkinson and machine-like drumming from Hernandez fly through the air like bullets between three miniguns. Possessed roars from Dolan, spitting out lines like "The burning gates ablaze in glory, Marvel at the fall of man." and "A world of the power mad...A world of corrupted lives, A world destroying itself ahead of its time." simply send a chill down the spine as they are sent through the ear canal. This song encompasses everything that makes Immolation a stand out death metal outfit. Pure, skull-shattering perfection. Other fiendishly effective tracks include the first three tracks, "Higher Coward", "Father, You're Not a Father" and the aneurysm-inducing "Farthest From the Truth", which combine to create one of the best opening trios, perhaps even trios of any kind, in death metal history, and the equally annihilating "Unpardonable Sin" and "Put My Hand In the Fire", the former of which containing a frightening opening riff, which is among the best on the album and boils images of the album cover as well as anything on the album. As mentioned before, though, the entire album is consistently a fantastic showing.

Close to a World Below is a prime example of how good death metal can be if it is done right. A hurricane of insane instrumentals and satanic growls hits the listener in the face from beginning to end and really thrashes them throughout its entire length. To all fans of death metal, if you do not have this yet, get it now, as it is one of the most consistently outrageous albums the genre has ever produced, while containing no noticeable flaws. Fantastic from beginning to finish, Close to a World Below gets a 5 out of 5.



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user ratings (686)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
necroscope86 (5)
An incredibly blasphemous rout of nothing more than death metal at its absolute finest...

Nate B. (5)
Dark, twisted, crushing…this is what it’s all about....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"To you I am darkness,
To you I have no soul"



DiceMan
May 7th 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm really growing onto these guys and Death lately.

ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"I'm really growing onto these guys and Death lately."

A very, very good thing...

Ire
May 7th 2010



41453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is next on my list for death metal.

I love Majesty and Decay and Dawn of Possession to a lesser extent.

ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"I love Majesty and Decay and Dawn of Possession to a lesser extent."

You should love this then...

it destroys


ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

...album needs more love...

EyesWideShut
May 7th 2010



3028 Comments


ill take majesty over this, but alex hernandez is boss..

ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"but alex hernandez is boss.."

indeed, he is a beast

EyesWideShut
May 7th 2010



3028 Comments


do u know if hes playing for anyone these days?

ShadowRemains
May 7th 2010



19431 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not anyone that I know, sadly. He used to play with Fallen Christ

*edited, he has played with Requiem Aeternam (Ury) and used to play with Disassociate as well, but no one at the present time

rasputin
May 7th 2010



14504 Comments


didn't you say...

...jesus was coming

jingledeath
May 7th 2010



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this will never get old for me

KILL
May 7th 2010



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol what

jingledeath
May 7th 2010



7104 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol typo fixed

HenchmanOfSanta
May 7th 2010



1651 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

BLESS ME, FATHER, FOR YOU'VE SINNED AGAINST ME.

Dryden
May 7th 2010



12813 Comments


rules

DBlitz
May 7th 2010



1685 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Close to a World Before is a prime example of how good death metal can be if it is done right

TheSpirit
May 7th 2010



16662 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review shadows

Digging: Sexdrome - Grown Younger

Relinquished
May 7th 2010



22366 Comments


not black metal enough for you spirit?

Inveigh
May 7th 2010



24190 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this was an excellent review, maybe the best one I've read from you yet Shadows. pos'd.

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis



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