Sabtu, 1 Oktober 2011
IMMOLATION MAJESTY AND DECAY
After two decades of releasing extraordinary music with sub-par sound, New York-based death metal legends IMMOLATIONhave finally released a studio effort with production values that match the quality of the band’s music.
Three years after the release of 2007′s SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT, IMMOLATION return with 12 tracks of crushing death metal in the form of MAJESTY AND DECAY. Like every IMMOLATION album before it, the album is overflowing with hypnotic rhythms, jaw dropping riffs, rumbling bass, tight drumming and raspy barks. What’s new is a flawless production that makes all of these elements stand out more than ever before.
On prior releases the overall audio quality can best be described as “shitty but tolerable.” If you’ve been a fan of the band over the past two decades you know that every release sounds like the microphones in the studio were wrapped in towels that muffled the vocals, guitars, bass and drums just enough to be a bit distracting. You knew you were listening to something awesome, but… as great as it was, you always felt like it could be just a bit better if they cleaned up the sound.
On their eighth try, they finally got it right because MAJESTY AND DECAY has the audio quality Immolation fans have been begging for. The recording was handled by long-time producer Paul Orofino, but the mastering was handled by Zack Ohren, known to death metal fans for his work with SEVERED SAVIOR (SERVILE INSURRECTION), SUFFOCATION (BLOOD OATH) and DECREPIT BIRTH (POLARITY). Every riff is clear and sharp, every snarl deep and guttural, every drum hit clear and powerful. It simply sounds amazing and I definitely hope the band continue to hire him in the future.
Other than the audio quality, the biggest gripe fans have had in recent years is the song writing wasn’t as inventive or interesting as it used to be. 2005′s HARNESSING RUIN was a low point where it just seemed like the band was going through the motions without putting forth their best effort. Riffs from earlier releases were being rehashed and the material just felt a little stale. IMMOLATION got back on track with SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT, and with this new effort, for the first time in a long time the band seems to be making steps forward.
While the song writing on MAJESTY AND DECAY pales in comparison to the work they did on their first four studio albums, it does include a couple of tracks that can be considered among their best songs to date. Several tracks, most notably the title track, would not sound out of place if they’d been included on HERE IN AFTER, FAILURES FOR GODS or CLOSE TO A WORLD BELOW. Despite several tracks being of superior quality, there is material that feels more like filler than top quality song writing. Overall things are looking good though.
Even the album cover artwork, handled by Par Olofsson, is top notch and a vast improvement over their past two releases. No offense to Sven de Caluwe of ABORTED who did the artwork for HARNESSING RUIN and SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT, but he’s no Andreas Marschall. The digital painting by Par Olofsson is a stunning piece and one I find myself staring at for long periods of time, admiring all of the small details. It’s the little things like this that made IMMOLATION‘s earlier work stand out, and it really helps sell the total package.
Minor gripes aside, there’s no doubt this is an excellent release, and among the best 2010 had to offer. Over the past 10 months there hasn’t been an album I’ve listened to more than MAJESTY AND DECAY and while it won’t go down as a classic, it’s definitely a must-hear album. IMMOLATION fans will hear enough great new material to keep them satisfied, and, surprisingly enough, it’s actually garnered a fair amount of attention from younger fans and even some publications who have generally frowned upon IMMOLATION‘s sound in the past. If the band continues along this path, the future is looking bright for Yonkers’ finest!