IMMOLATION
Death Metal • United States

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Immolation is a death metal band from Yonkers, New York. They were formed in 1986 as Rigor Mortis. The name was changed to Immolation in late 1987, between the "Warriors of Doom" demo which was done as Rigor Mortis and "Demo I" which was done as Immolation. The band got a deal with Roadrunner Records and released their debut album Dawn of Possession through them. They were dropped by the label when the label dropped nearly all of the death metal bands. Later, they were picked up by Metal Blade Records and released the three succeeding albums through them. After the second one Here in After, drummer Craig Smilowski left the band and was replaced by Alex Hernandez who immediately boosted the technical proficiency of the band as a whole. The most recent two albums were released by Listenable Records. Unholy Cult saw the departure of guitarist Thomas Wilkinson. And read more...
Thanks to UMUR, bartosso for the updates

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AtonementAtonement
Nuclear Blast America 2017
Audio CD$7.97
$7.96 (used)
Here In AfterHere In After
Metal Blade 1996
Audio CD$9.70
$9.69 (used)
Dawn of PossessionDawn of Possession
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$15.82
$19.27 (used)
Close to a World BelowClose to a World Below
Metal Blade 2000
Audio CD$9.07
$9.09 (used)
Kingdom of ConspiracyKingdom of Conspiracy
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$7.99
$6.74 (used)
Failures For GodsFailures For Gods
Import
Sony Music Canada Inc. 2017
Audio CD$8.07
$10.58 (used)
Majesty And DecayMajesty And Decay
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$10.66
Unholy CultUnholy Cult
Import
Imports 2013
Audio CD$7.54
$7.53 (used)
Here In After (Limited Red Transparent Vinyl)Here In After (Limited Red Transparent Vinyl)
Limited Edition
Metal Blade 2017
Vinyl$18.49
$22.36 (used)
AtonementAtonement
Import
SONY 2017
Audio CD$28.17
$28.17 (used)
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IMMOLATION Discography

IMMOLATION albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.20 | 15 ratings
Dawn of Possession
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.15 | 13 ratings
Here in After
Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 8 ratings
Failures for Gods
Death Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.27 | 16 ratings
Close to a World Below
Death Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.23 | 10 ratings
Unholy Cult
Death Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.83 | 8 ratings
Harnessing Ruin
Death Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 3.97 | 8 ratings
Shadows in the Light
Death Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.19 | 14 ratings
Majesty and Decay
Death Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 3.99 | 9 ratings
Kingdom Of Conspiracy
Death Metal 2013
.. Album Cover 4.44 | 7 ratings
Atonement
Death Metal 2017

IMMOLATION EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
A Day Of Death
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hope and Horror
Death Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 8 ratings
Providence
Death Metal 2011

IMMOLATION live albums

IMMOLATION demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Demo I
Death Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Demo II
Death Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
1994 Promotional Demo
Death Metal 1994

IMMOLATION re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 2.96 | 4 ratings
Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn
Death Metal 1995

IMMOLATION singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Immolation
Death Metal 2016

IMMOLATION movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bringing Down the World
Death Metal 2004

IMMOLATION Reviews

IMMOLATION Dawn of Possession

Album · 1991 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
Immolation’s debut album is yet another one of those essential old school death metal albums, at least according to death metal playlist makes on YouTube. As it was also one of the more expensive albums, I initially considered purchasing something from their highly rated later releases; however, while listening to bits and pieces of songs on YouTube, I felt the atonal guitar leads were too much like out of key instead of a cool effect. This may have been my impression because I was listening to the songs on my iPhone while cleaning up my children’s playroom.

The music on this album is interesting in the scope of American death metal of the early nineties. The death metal movement is generally said to have emerged in Florida and it has become my impression that those bands grew out of the thrash metal scene, with some exceptions like Obituary sounding more influenced by Celtic Frost. Immolation, who are from Yonkers, NY (if Wikipedia is to be trusted) play a much more technical style with tight, complex riffing mixed in with more standard, speedy riffs. The music in any one song shifts and changes, the drums moving along almost with the guitars rather than maintaining a steady beat. The use of double bass drumming is also more in sync with the guitars than simple, standard pummeling. As for the atonal lead guitar, hearing it in the headphones it sounds great, perfectly suited to the wild ride that is the music.

Vocalist Ross Dolan eschews the thrashy bark and growl of many Floridian bands and instead delivers the lyrics in a deep, breathy, back-of-the-throat rumbling regurgitation of air. His vocal style is similar to that of Cryptopsy’s Lord Worm except that the lyrics are at times comprehensible in contrast to Lord Worm’s vocalizations which sound more like a foreign and beastly language.

Taken song by song, each track is packed with heavy guitar riffs that gallop and twist, crazy drumming, and Dolan’s dragon-belly vocals. To me though, this album is easy to play through without hearing the subtle differences that distinguish one song from another. Part of the reason is that every song is comprised of the same sonic moves. There are no acoustic breaks, no stand-alone awesome riffs, no atmospheric parts. Each song just delves straight into the thunderous sound, different versions of the same demon dance. Another reason for the seemingly repetitive approach to the music is the production. The quality is no exactly dense, nor is it shoddy, but each of the instruments and vocals sound compacted into a warm, dark ball of sound. It would be easy to brush of the album as having little variety and therefore concluding that it gets old quickly. But each time I listen carefully to any one track, I feel I may have found the one stand out track on the album. So, basically, we are looking at an album of awesome songs with an awesome playing style that could be easily misunderstood as having little depth or breadth.

I’ll be looking into Immolation’s catalogue further with the hopes of hearing a better produced album that still delivers the same tight and technical performance.

IMMOLATION Atonement

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Atonement" is the 10th full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Immolation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2017. It´s the successor to "Kingdom Of Conspiracy" from 2013 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Bill Taylor has left Immolation. He has not been replaced on "Atonement", which was therefore recorded as a three-piece with Robert Vigna handling all guitars. A 10th album release is always an anniversary release of sorts and Immolation celebrate their achivement with bringing their old logo back on the front cover of the album. A logo which hasn´t graced an Immolation album since "Here in After"(1996).

Not much else have changed though, and "Atonement" is unmistakably the sound of Immolation. Deep growling vocals, which are only partially intelligible, twisted intricate and often dissonant riffs (and some brilliant lead guitar work), varied and adventurous drumming, and a bleak occult atmosphere. While Immolation haven´t moved far from their starting point in terms of changing their core sound, quite a few compositional developments have happened since they released their debut full-length studio album "Dawn of Possession" back in 1991. So while Immolation are definitely an old school death metal act to the bone, they have still challenged themselves and their audience by incorporating dissonance and twisted unconventional riffs and rhythms to their music.

The material on the 11 track, 44:34 minutes long album is generally of high quality, and while the album occasionally feels a bit one-dimensional in style, and especially the monotone vocals enhance that feeling, "Atonement" is overall an intriguing and entertaining release. Some tracks stand out more than others (it´s like the first part of the album stand out a bit more than the latter part of the album), and Immolation are best when they try new compositional ideas like they do on tracks like "Fostering the Divide" and "Rise the Heretics", and least interesting when they deliver more "run of the mill" material, like they occasionally do on the latter part of the album. It´s intriguing high quality death metal, but unfortunately a bit of a one-dimensional listening experience over the course of a full album. It´s actually not meant as negative as it may sound, but when you hear the best material from "Atonement" and compare it to the least interesting tracks featured on the album, you just know Immolation could have done slightly better on some tracks. It may be a harsh criticism given the high quality of the material, but when you are as groundbreaking and unique as Immolation are, it obligates, and therefore expectations to their releases are always very high.

"Atonement" features a powerful, gritty, and raw sound production, which to my ears is an upgrade from the more clear and "polished" sounding production on "Kingdom Of Conspiracy (2013)". Not that the sound production on the predecessor was of bad quality or anything like that, but personally I think a more dark and gritty sound production suits Immolation´s music better. The drums could have prospered from a more dark and organic sound, but it´s a minor issue, and probably an aquired taste anyway. So upon conclusion "Atonement" is yet another high quality release by Immolation. It´s not an album which will win over those who haven´t enjoyed the band´s preceding releases, but it´s sure to please the regular fanbase and it´s as good a starting point as any for new listeners. A 4 star (80%) rating is well deserved.

IMMOLATION Atonement

Album · 2017 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Nightfly
How many bands are there like Immolation who’ve been going for thirty years or so and keep releasing great album after great album? Not too many I suspect. Atonement is album number ten and once again they’ve done it – one of their best in fact and up there with the likes of Close To A World Below, Unholy Cult and Majesty And Decay but in truth you could add just about any Immolation album to that list such is the consistently high standard this band keep delivering.

If you know Immolation then you know what to expect – Robert Vigna’s incredibly inventive atonal riffing and soloing. How he keeps coming up with them is amazing. Ross Dolan’s deep guttural growl and not forgetting his thunderous bass playing. Then there’s Steve Shalaty’s complex rhythmic drum patterns following or leading every twist and turn of the constantly shifting song structures. This is death metal as it should be played and at its very best, heavy as hell with riffs that’ll pin you to the wall. Every single song delivers making picking highlights completely futile. These songs have a menace about them that is sometimes lost when bands try to play relentlessly fast all the time. Sure, there’s moments of incredible speed but Immolation play it smart and temper it with captivating grooves, tempo and time changes that will enthral all who have a love of this stuff. This is clearly the sound of Immolation and no band out there can beat them at their own game with the atonal and dissonant thing.

You’ve probably gathered by now that I love this album. I’m even thinking it might be their best but I don’t want to say that as many of their previous albums have had a similar effect on me. Let’s wait for the dust to settle. What I will say though as the benchmark has been set for best death metal album of 2017. I’ve just listened twice today while I’ve been reviewing it and now I want to play it again! If you love death metal you need this album!

IMMOLATION Unholy Cult

Album · 2002 · Death Metal
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Warthur
If you liked Immolation's Close to a World Below, then you're in luck here, because Unholy Cult basically offers the same general sound all over again. Musically speaking it isn't a revolution by any means, but there is a slight tonal shift; whereas Close to the World Below felt like a dire threat coming after the listener, Unholy Cult is more purposeful in its aggression, like the music already has the listener in its power and is deciding just which bone to break. There aren't any particularly slow or menacing pieces this time around either, but the compositions are solid enough that the album's 42 minutes feels like it's over in half an hour.

IMMOLATION Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn

Boxset / Compilation · 1995 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn" is a compilation album by US death metal act Immolation. The album was released through Repulse Records in January 1995. By 1995 Immolation were already quite a seasoned death metal act, who had formed as early as in 1986 under the Defcon monicker, which was soon changed to Rigor Mortis. They had several demo releases under their belt, but only one full-length studio album in "Dawn of Possession (1991)", which was released through Roadrunner Records. Unfortunately around the time when Immolation were ready to begin work on their second full-length studio album, they and quite a few other death metal acts were dropped by Roadrunner Records and that unfortunate situation send the band in search of a new label. It took them quite a few years before they signed a deal with Metal Blade Records and their second full-length studio album "Here in After" wasn´t released until 1996. In the meantime Repulse Records took the opportunity to release this compilation, which features both demo tracks by Rigor Mortis and Immolation and live tracks by the latter mentioned.

The first three tracks on the compilation are taken from the "Decomposed" demo by Rigor Mortis, which was released in July 1987. While the influence from especially early Slayer and Possessed are obvious in the tracks from the "Decomposed" demo, the semi-growling vocal delivery certainly points in a death metal direction and I´d call this an early example of death metal rather than raw thrash metal. The "Warriors of Doom" track from the unreleased one-track "Warriors of Doom (1987)" demo (the track would be released on the post-humous "Rigor Mortis" single in 1990), further points in a death metal direction. All four Rigor Mortis tracks feature raw demo quality sound productions, but they are rather charming sounding.

Next up are the two tracks from the first demo recorded under the Immolation monicker. Both "Immolation" and "Dawn of Possession" would end up on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Dawn of Possession (1991)". It´s interesting to note the even though the demo was recorded almost exactly one year after the "Decomposed" demo by Rigor Mortis, the band are now a fully fledged death metal act. There are next to no thrash metal influences in the music anymore. This is savage, brutal and really fast played. Not completely unlike the early Morbid Angel recordings. The sound production is raw and kind of muddy.

The next three tracks are taken from the second Immolation demo, which was recorded in June 1989. Like the case was on the first demo, all tracks from this demo would also end up on "Dawn of Possession (1991)". Compared to the two tracks from the first Immolation demo the sound quality on the three tracks on this demo are less muddy and you can hear more details. Listening to a "classic" track like "Despondent Souls" in it´s original form is for me personally an absolute delight. There was actually a fourth track recorded during the same sessions titled "Infectious Blood", which didn´t make the final cut for the demo, but is included here. The track was later re-titled to "Fall In Disease" and included on "Dawn of Possession (1991)".

The next track on "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn" is a version of "Despondent Souls" recorded in January 1990 for the first "At Death's Door" compilation. It didn´t end up on the compilation though because of time issues.

The remaining tracks on the compilation are bootleg quality live recordings from 1988-1989. Although the band are undoubtedly well playing already at this point in their career, the sound quality is a bit hard to appreciate even for a hardcore fan like myself. But I guess you get a good insight to how the band sounded like in a raw live setting.

"Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn" is a compilation aimed specifically at hardcore fans, and I don´t see anyone but the most hardcore fans getting much out of this release. With that said the quality of the demo recordings is pretty good and while the sound quality of the live recordings isn´t that impressive you still get a good feeling of how the band sounded live in those days. A 3 star (60%) rating isn´t unfair.

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