Review Summary: This is a soul that doesn’t need saving.
A younger band saw the release of an ambitious and daring death metal debut that helped found a scene and deviate from the norm, yet in five years, no-one could have anticipated the aesthetic make-over present on Immolation’s sophomore record: Here In After
. Upping the ante, the band took the unique song-writing techniques, Robert Vigna’s signature style of atonal and technically chaotic riffing, Smilowski’s frantic drumming and threw caution to the wind--redefining the band’s sound and creating the blueprints for its reverent future.
Here In After
presents a much different sound compared to its predecessor, Dawn of Possession
. Whilst the latter is unique, compared to Here In After
, it stands as a much more accessible death metal affair. ‘Nailed to Gold’ bores straight into the unrelenting density of the album, with incomprehensible drum patterns and Vigna’s tense, complex chord progressions paving the way. While Vigna’s brand of technicality wasn’t in the same vein as fellow technical death metal fret board philanderers in the scene, his off-kilter riffing was key to development in the experimental death metal circuit, Immolation’s obvious influence being reflected in bands like innovative metal wizards Gorguts. The album builds off of Dawn of Possession’s
almost-progressive song structures and delivers crushing tempo shifts and demented time signatures, all displayed between flurries of harmonic guitar solos and flourishing drum fills.
At times the band delivers dark grooves, with Smilowski’s drumming pacing sickening beats that gorge on the syncopated rhythm of the dueling guitars. Unlike the debut, this album’s production feels much tighter and whole. All the aspects of the music meld together to deliver an almost-perfect experience, vocalist’s Ross Dolan’s distinctive growls falling in rhythm with the instrumentals, rather than feeling like a separated element. The best example of the music being harmoniously inharmonious is on the track ‘I Feel Nothing’: the drumming breaks into one of Smilowski’s evil grooves, Vigna’s tremolo picking sets a brooding scene and Dolan dishes out his deliciously dark lyrical smorgasbord of blasphemy, “In the name of the Father/in the name of the Son/where is the Holy Spirit?/I feel nothing/as I stare upon the crucifix/I feel nothing for a God I never knew/I refuse to embrace and live by his word.”
Like on Dawn of Possession
, Dolan’s bass isn’t entirely noticeable, leaving his (quite talented) bass skills overlooked, but with the competition of Vigna and rhythm guitarist Thomas Wilkinson’s unmatched confliction of discordant riffing, this doesn’t find itself being a problem. Setting a new bar for death metal, and for Immolation; marking the true beginning of the band’s evolution of style, Here In After
saw the band crafting their own place among death metal legends.