This just in: I love promo CD’s!!! There are many American Metal bands that haven’t made it to my ears yet. IMMOLATION counts as one of these bands, always heard of their acclaimed albums but that’s it, never got to actually hearing them. Once again TMO HQ has given me something that I’ve been meaning to check out for what seems like centuries, I love promo CD’s!!!
“Harnessing Ruin” is the band’s seventh studio album, their second for France’s Listenable Records. On my first spin these soldiers of death didn’t sound all that threatening, a newbie like myself has to give it some time to unfold, when you’ve studied the individual tracks enough you’ll see that the album is very complex without having instrumental escapades leaking into their otherwise militant Death Metal sound.
I honestly thought I was going to be hammered down a wall of noise but it turns out that IMMOLATION are pretty melodic but still dark and heavy. “Swarm Of Terror” drives through fast Death Metal riffing and eerie melodies supplied by battlefield drumming and warlike atmospheres, the obvious choice as the opening track. “Our Saviour Sleeps”, my favourite track off the album, manages to stay incredible versatile and challenging while dealing with religious confusion in the lyrics, I’ll call it Ominous Death Metal cause that’s what it sounds like.
“Dead To Me” has some blazing solos in it and the song structure shows just how experienced this attacking unit has become. Vocals are not the most interesting aspect of “Harnessing Ruin”, fairly standard growling, sometimes darker than usual, sometimes whispered (see “Son Of Iniquity”), you’ve heard it before.
There’s this constant war/aftermath atmosphere floating around the album through an intentional fog like sound that isn’t raw but murky, it’s suits the songs well. The musicianship adds so much to the final sound, strangely timed cymbal rides and interesting sombre leads complement the dense atmospheres resembling the very essence of MY DYING BRIDE when the guys fall back into slower tempos.
Although chaotic in the beginning, “Harnessing Ruin” just gets better and deeper with consecutive in depth listens, the album worked for me and there’s no point in denying the fact that this is some well crafted Death Metal, it’s almost progressive at times but also layered with many dark atmospherics, like the promo says “… the audible depiction of hell on earth”. (Online February 15, 2005)