Saturday, December 23, 2017

Immolation: Atonement (2017)

I am pretty sure I actually missed out on Immolation's last album.  That seems very odd, given that the band has been one of my favorite death metal bands since checking out their 2007 album and then delving into their back catalog from there.  After hearing some of the hype for this one though, I was determined that I would not miss out on two in a row.  Not to mention that it has a badass cover.

Immolation has always been one of the more interesting death metal bands out there, but they have often been kind of lost in the shuffle.  Not as grimy as Incantation.  Not as occult as Morbid Angel.  Not as progressive as Death.  Not as groovy as Obituary.  But Immolation has always done their own thing and they do it quite well.  Their latest album, the one I never checked out, was considered a bit of a misstep, and to be fair, the one before that one was not particularly memorable, though Immolation has never out out a bad album.  But whatever flaws those two albums contained were fixed with this one, because it is easily on the same level as Shadows in the Light.

From the first track, it is quite clear that Immolation's angular riffing and take-no-prisoners approach to death metal has returned in full force.  The performance on this album is incredible.  Each of the songs is memorable in its own right and each individual member of the band has such a huge part to play in the overall sound.  And of course this would not be an Immolation album without the incredibly dark atmosphere.  They expand on that element with several slower segments throughout the album, giving off that much more of an ominous tension in the sound.

This is quite possibly Immolation's best album in years.  That is saying something because they have always been one of the most consistently amazing death metal bands out there.  I also had the chance to see them live for the first time this year and I can honestly say, as good as they sound on record, they sound even better live.

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