Review Summary: Death metal poetry in motion. The best Immolation album since 2001.
Immolation is a band that comes once every generation, and by generation I mean every 10 years or so. Brutality in this day and age is hard to come by anywhere with the talent to match. But many forget what makes brutal death metal close to perfection: crisp vocals, making them work with the song, and still put that dark/evil/angry tone behind it all. Cannibal Corpse
started that sound 14 years ago, Suffocation
tried it, and so did Morbid Angel
. Their experiments turned into the albums Kill, Pierced From Within, and Covenant, respectively, a few of the greatest death metal albums of all time. Immolation tried this in '91 with Dawn of Possession and it didn't work like the others. So, they decided to add darkness into the picture, and lots of it, and then BOOM! Close To A World Below came to be. They do the same thing here, but with more melody (by that, I mean less dissonance).
First up, vocals. The vocals are beast-y at best, lacking any real substance or variety, but still succeeding in its job nonetheless. They add the evil feel to the album and to all of Immolation's work. The vocals put the puzzle pieces together. In addition to the vocals, the lyrics are very abstract, like the ones to the title track ("Forward moving, never slowing, A soulless machine that hungers for victory, Tear through the soil, tear through the soul, Power in motion, daunting procession) (Please excuse the commas). Poetry at its best in death metal since Death
Next is instrumentation. The guitars gives Immolation the evil and dark tone that turned into their signature sound. That is exemplified in this album, but with flare. The speed is the essence here, varying to fit the mood. You see, unlike CTAWB, it gets pretty slow once in awhile. The slowness is placed perfectly in the songs and those are the moments when darkness falls. Don't forget about drums. Without drums, much of the rest falls apart. The drums give necessary speed to the slow breaks. Usually the drums have technicality, but here you gotta look close for it. The bass seems inaudible but the truth is that the bass gives that extra OMPF! If you listen to where the guitars don't have a bass line and compare it to the parts that do, then you can tell that the bass plays an important role. However, much of the noticeable bass comes from the drums, making up for the seemingly scarce bass guitar.
There are clean guitars in here, but very little. The song "Dead To Me" has it and it foreshadows the dark riffs to come. The album also has a very high energy compared to some others. This one gives strength like "war metal" (if truly a genre), not like Domination by Morbid Angel where it just gives the urge to head-bang.
Right! So, that's pretty much it. This album is truly a great album, but it has fewer balls than Immolation's other work. Other than that it is one fine death metal album and a good starter album if you just discover it. Despite making an excellent album, I would recommend it to those who've never heard of Immolation of never listened to them, not a Immolation fan who has never listened to this before. It doesn't match the speed, darkness, or audacity that made their other work so appealing. It's a good for death metal fans, but even they'd say it could have been better, and I agree.