In these cynical and jaded times, conspiracies are big business. Millions of people believe that high ranking members of the establishment are shape-shifting murderous lizards, people question if we really landed on the moon, and Scientologists lurk in every corner, just waiting to ensnare the gullible. Probably.
One massive conspiracy however, is how your average metal fan would probably stare sheepishly at their shoes if you quizzed them on New York kings of death metal Immolation and mumble that they’ve never listened to “Dawn of Possession,” despite the band being one of the genre’s true giants. Well hopefully this betrayal of truth will finally be rectified with the release of “Kingdom of Conspiracy”, Immolation’s punishing and powerful new opus.
The title track opens proceedings with a barrage of blastbeats and razor-sharp riffs that vary in tempo yet all have an effect similar to being repeatedly smashed in the face with a hammer. Ross Dolan’s vocals are flawless as ever; brutal yet just about legible death grunts done to perfection, and his solid presence anchors the record as he intones tales of all that’s grim about modern life. ‘Bound to Order’ continues the pace as the grinding riffs and morose solos of Robert Vigna and Bill Taylor keep coming with lethal precision while ‘Keep the Silence’ writhes restlessly in between its more rapid sections, mimicking the sense of unease and lurking fear that we all acknowledge yet try to ignore on a daily basis. Things are cranked up a notch with the gnarled riffing and tortured squalls of ‘God Complex’ while the lurching menace and unrestrained fury of ‘Echoes of Despair’ reveals the truth in all its hideous glory.
The aptly named ‘Indoctrinate’ is grimly majestic in its lethal scope with Steve Shalaty putting in one hell of an impressive shift behind the kit, a feat he maintains for the entirety of “Kingdom of Conspiracy.” ‘The Great Sleep’ is something you won’t be doing during the track of the same name as the stalking chugs and roars of Dolan demonstrate just again how Immolation have death metal down to a fine art, and how acts such as Decrepit Birth and Trigger the Bloodshed have invested their time in watching and listening to these masters of the game. Plus, if anyone had any doubts that Immolation couldn’t cut it anymore, those worries would be pounded into dust with the unbridled ferocity of ‘A Spectacle of Lies.’
With “Kingdom of Conspiracy”, Immolation have once again re-established themselves at the top of a very overcrowded pile. This is utterly masterful death metal that doesn’t need absurd occult themes or a childish reliance on gore to utterly kick your ass, over and over. The kings have returned, and you’d better fucking bow down.