Immolation - Harnessing Ruin review
|Release date:||February 2005|
01. Swarm Of Terror
02. Our Savior Sleeps
03. Challenge The Storm
04. Harnessing Ruin
05. Dead To Me
06. Son Of Iniquity
07. My Own Enemy
08. Crown The Liar
09. At Mourning's Twilight
+ Harnessing Ruin [video] [limited edition bonus]
The main reason I've always been more into black metal and failed to appreciate most death metal is that I prioritize atmosphere. The most renowned black metal records usually have low fidelity production and minimalist or poor musicianship but are still able to achieve surprisingly strong atmosphere whereas a lot of death metal possesses godlike technique and usually higher production values but is lacking in this particular field. Immolation is one of those death metal bands which do not have this problem and thus have a big appeal.
The production on this record is not crystal clear but this might be seen as an advantage because it makes all the instruments sound more like one entity. It works really well mostly because Immolation is a not a *bunch* of musicians, it's a real *team.* The record is crammed with memorable and even catchy riffs (catchy? Blasphemy!). They are not all that technical in the context of death metal but they are memorable and that is what matters. Too much wankery and no memorability makes death metal a dull boy! There are also a number of enjoyable melodic solos, so the album is rather consistent in the guitar department. Interestingly, drums are not as prominent in the mix as in the majority of other death metal acts. Imagine "Demigod" by Behemoth: drums are reigning on that record, whereas here we have a totally different case. Finally, I could mention that the growls are intelligible which means the listener has the possibility to appreciate the lyrics instead of just ignoring them.
The lyrics are mainly anti-organized religion but what strikes me is that they do not sound retarded. Yes, these lyrics sound rather inspired and not a worthless gimmick. I might have a totally different view on the same issues but the sincerity and competence of the lyrics expose me to the fact that Immolation's opinion might be regarded as valid as well. Not to mention some of the lines sound catchy as hell! "A swarm of terror! Across the land!"
Overall this is a great record with great songwriting. It manages to be catchy without being superficial. Immolation does not sound like a thousand and one other bands. They have an established sound of their own, and a memorable one. Riffs and solos are distinctive, just the way they are supposed to be. The lyrics make the majority of the death metal scene hang their heads in shame. The only real reason why this record is not perfect is that not all songs are equally great. My personal favorites are: "Swarm of Terror", "Our Savior Sleeps", and the title track "Harnessing Ruin". Go see for yourself!
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