It’s stunning just how much heavy metal royalty remains in our plane of existence, still putting out great work and absolutely killing it live, that is when they’re able. To be able to breathe oxygen into our lungs at the same time as Iron Maiden, Obituary, Judas Priest, Scorpions, Carcass, and so many legendary acts are carrying ravaging torches is something for which to be eternally thankful.
Let’s not forget New York death metal institution Immolation who have been at it for more than three decades and remain an intimidating force live. They have returned with their 11th record “Acts of God,” their first in five years and a mammoth of a collection that will overstuff you in the best possible way. This thing is 15 tracks that stretch over 52 minutes, and while that might seem like a classic example of failing to edit themselves, it’s really not. Everything on here crushes as the band—vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan, guitarists Robert Vigna and Alex Bouks, drummer Steve Shalaty—is channeled and ferocious, sounding impressive, scary, and jam packed with horrors about our modern world, burning down your psyche. Things flow seamlessly, nothing overstays its welcome, and its impact is mighty. This is a tremendous album, one that should please even those who have been on board since “Dawn of Possession.”
“Abandoned” is a classic-style intro cut as eerie clean guitars cut through, paving the way for “An Act of God” that absolutely tears everything apart. Dolan’s growls wrench as the guitars chug and strike, mashing bones to paste. The drums disrupt, fluid leads gush, and things burn out and head into “The Age of No Light” that ignites with guitars as it dawns. This one is rowdy, a crumbler that feels like it’s cutting through the earth, the leads warming your blood. The band keeps pounding away, stripping away your psyche, ending with the pace hammering. “Noose of Thorns” jabs with one of the most memorable riffs on a record packed with great ones, and it’s easily one of the most infectious songs on this collection, clobbering and rupturing veins. Vicious growls jolt as the guitars weigh down, leaving everything bloody in its wake. “Shed the Light” brings chunky guitars and harsh growls, the tempo jerking your neck viciously. There’s a brief haze disrupted by blinding guitars and mauling drums with the whole thing ending abruptly. “Blooded” thrashes and delivers devastation, heavy heat scarring flesh. The guitars snarl before hitting an even higher level, and the growls squash bowels, coming to a furious end. “Overtures of the Wicked” hits speedier paces, the vocals are spat out, and the precision grinds away. The growls smother as the evil spirits mar, leaving burnt flesh behind. “Immoral Stain” starts with dark, clean guitar lines, but then the power kicks in, and the band heads into total destruction. The playing goes all in, absolutely killing everything in front of them, delivering ominous warnings about impending destruction, falling away with jarring chaos.
“Incineration Procession” pushes in with a start/stop assault, pummeling with beastly growls jabbing through rock. Drums splatter as the guitars get more intense, vicious howls increase, and the final moments devastate. “Broken Prey” brings scarring playing and the leads totally swagger, the growls bustling and delivering haymakers. Everything rains down as the leads engulf, and the finish is punishing. “Derelict of Spirit” punches in as humid leads wilt flesh, and then the rhythm section mashes, bringing on unforgiving brutality. The guitar work is again sinister and impossibly sharp, and the growls lacerate as everything rushes out. “When Halos Burn” begins with a drum assault that is impossible to experience without taking on damage, and the rest of the track follows the lead, squeezing marrow from your bones. “Let the Darkness In” brings riffs that increase the heat dangerously, and it feels like scarring is picking up and putting your well-being in question. The track gets even darker, things come unglued, and the intensity explodes, ramping up and pushing the chaos into hell. “And the Flames Wept” is an instrumental piece that is both sizzling and hazy with isolated guitars buzzing and setting the ambiance for closer “Apostle” that saves one of its tastiest riffs for last, chewing and mauling, slicing into muscle. The band thrashes viciously, the growls roar, and the leads lather, ending things on a menacing note.
It might seem 15 tracks is a lot to handle, but Immolation make it feel like a great feast, and the album whips by in a flash. “Acts of God” is a toppling creation that proves these trailblazers of death metal not only still have it, but they sound as hungry and bloodthirsty as they ever have as there is not a wasted moment on this thing. It’s great getting a new Immolation album in any year, but having one this good in which to indulge is something for which we should be morbidly thankful.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/immolation
To buy the album, go here: https://www.immolation.info/acts-of-god?fbclid=IwAR3hUCIvrvxtkUz1LnbAGF1Q4z1tOEwyMhIoijzdWA5ckc8SgXEmXvwelys
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblastrecords