CD Reviews – Acts of God Immolation

(Nuclear explosion)

01. Abandoned

02. An Act of God

03. The Age Without Light

04. Knot of thorns

05. Light it up

06. Bloodied

07. Villain Openings

08. Immoral stain

09. Cremation procession

10. Shattered Prey

11. Abandonment of Spirit

12. When Halos Burn

13. Let the darkness in

14. And the Flames Wept

15. Apostle

Five years have passed since IMMOLATIONthe last album of, “Atonement”. In its more than 30 years of existence, the unit has not released a single subpar offering, although some naturally stand out from the rest. Their first releases, true classics like “Dawn of Possession” (1991) and “Here in After” (1996), are revered higher than most of what followed, but they’ve always been consistent and more than a little good with their dark, dark, anti-religious metal. The legendary New York-based death metal machine finally returns with their 11th full album, “Acts of God”their best effort since 2002 “Unholy Cult”.

Robert Vigna and Ross Dolan hewed with their cord axes in IMMOLATION since the 80s, and the longtime core includes drummer Steve Shalaty For almost 20 years. same guitarist Alex Bouk, back for his second outing, has been a friend and colleague of the band for decades. The seasoned marriage of personalities and musicians lends itself to incredibly cohesive and natural chemistry and musical interaction. The technical know-how and complex compositions of the veterans are paradoxically channeled into the simple and digestible flow of songs here.

Album number 11 is IMMOLATIONthe longest version of, at just over 52 minutes. And yet, the songs feel more succinct and relevant than ever thanks to the band’s experience and concise songwriting. After a brief introduction that sets the tone, “An act of God” hits the eardrums with cranial subtlety. There is a desirable familiarity from beginning to end, because IMMOLATION has always adhered to a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But there has always been gradual growth and development over the years. “The Age Without Light”for example, includes a riff that’s vaguely reminiscent of Middle Eastern music, and the song continues with the act’s signature melodic melancholy evoking feelings most death metal bands aren’t even able to touch.

longtime producer Paul Orofino directed the album in the studio, contributing to “Acts of God” sounding like it was created in a jam room filled with passionate, primal energy among longtime cohorts. “Turn on the light” typically rests on a belligerent blast-beat base, going back and forth spectacularly with variation and morphing of a slow, groove-based riff that provides contrast and helps tie the song together. Depth and dynamics are inextricably linked to everything that IMMOLATION East. Elsewhere, songs like “Wicked Overtures” strike wildly with merciless aggression.

There’s so much going on inside “Acts of God” that many listening sessions are needed to begin to understand all that the album has to offer. The release is unlikely to achieve the status of some of the band’s early long-term albums, but it is truly one of their best. Be that as it may, it is hard to imagine anyone claiming that this is not one of the esteemed band’s finest albums of the latter half of their career. Simply, IMMOLATION is one of the greatest death metal bands of all time, and “Acts of God” proves that they continue to be one of the leaders of the genre.

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Jack L. Goldstein