Immolation - _Failures for Gods_
(Metal Blade, 1999)
by: Paul Schwarz (9.5 out of 10)
Once again, Immolation have produced an album which grabs my ears, eyes and brain and drags me mercilessly into their twisted realm, where brutal, dark death metal is eternally entwined with engrossing anti-religious sentiments. The music -is- the initial and most important part of Immolation, but they are so much more than a band I merely listen to. Following the lyrics and engrossing yourself in the themes enhances the listening experience of all Immolation's albums and _Failures for Gods_ is no exception. While the music assaults your senses and creates a hugely oppressive, dark atmosphere all by itself, the lyrical themes enhance this at least twofold. _FfG_ is a progression for the band in that it is heavier and doesn't incorporate quite as much of the despair-ridden melody which was so resonantly part of tracks like "Burn With Jesus" or "Nailed to Gold" on _Here in After_. Songs such as "Failures for Gods" and "Your Angel Died" still use this technique, but _FfG_ is far more centred around being downright heavy and brutal (which is also accentuated by the wider-ranging production), while capturing an atmosphere at least as powerful and affecting as _HiA_. Build-ups are somewhat more important and the band are more calculated with their riffs. The poundingly simple riff which comes in at the three minute mark on "Once Ordained" is punishing in itself, but is augmented incalculably by the raging build-up which lays the foundations for it. Likewise, the last two minutes of the album, the almighty riff, and its accompanying melodies, which marks the end of "The Devil I Know", is atmospheric and affecting in the best senses of the word -- and via the best medium, basic instruments. I have nothing against keyboards as such, and they can be used by bands to great effect (Nocturnus, for example), but often I just want atmosphere the Autopsy way: raw, creepy and basic. Unless Morbid Angel release a new record this year, I don't think any death metal album will be able to challenge Immolation in the extremity or brilliance stakes. This is essential listening.

(article published 7/7/1999)

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