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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Close to a World BelowClose to a World Below
Metal Blade 2000
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IMMOLATION Discography

IMMOLATION albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.37 | 9 ratings
Dawn of Possession
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.41 | 10 ratings
Here in After
Death Metal 1996
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 5 ratings
Failures for Gods
Death Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 12 ratings
Close to a World Below
Death Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 4.40 | 6 ratings
Unholy Cult
Death Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 4.43 | 4 ratings
Harnessing Ruin
Death Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 4.41 | 4 ratings
Shadows in the Light
Death Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 4.03 | 10 ratings
Majesty and Decay
Death Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Kingdom Of Conspiracy
Death Metal 2013

IMMOLATION EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hope and Horror
Death Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 6 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 boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 2.95 | 3 ratings
Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn
Death Metal 1995

IMMOLATION singles (0)

IMMOLATION movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

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

IMMOLATION Reviews

IMMOLATION Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn

Boxset / Compilation · 1995 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

IMMOLATION Demo II

Demo · 1989 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
This is the 2nd demo release by Immolation after they changed their name from Rigor Mortis in early 1988. The demo was recorded in June 1989 at The Loft/Bronxville, NY with the same lineup that recorded the first demo a year before.

The demo features three tracks of raw sounding US death metal. The music is well played and brutal and the demo features a raw yet detailed sound production. Yes it´s obvious that this is a demo, but the sound is still quite charming and easy to appreciate. All three tracks from the demo would eventually appear in re-recorded versions on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Dawn of Possession (1991)". These demo versions of the tracks are also available on the Immolation compilation album "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)".

It´s obvious the band have stepped it up a level since the first demo. They seem even more confident and the songwriting is has improved too. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

IMMOLATION Demo I

Demo · 1988 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
This is the first demo release by Immolation after they changed their name from Rigor Mortis in April 1988. The demo was recorded in July 1988 at Sleepy Hollow Sound/Dobbs Ferry. The demo is the first release featuring vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan, who has replaced Andrew Sakowicz and also the first release to feature new drummer Neal Boback who replaced Dave Wilkinson.

The demo features two tracks in "Immolation" and "Dawn of Possession". Both tracks feature a raw, brutal and slightly muddy sound that perfectly compliments the savage death metal tracks. Compared to the Rigor Mortis demos which featured a thrash metal influenced death metal sound, the two tracks on the this demo are fully fledged US death metal. Early Morbid Angel is very similar in sound and style to how these two tracks sound. Both tracks would eventually appear in re-recorded versions on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Dawn of Possession (1991)". These demo versions of the tracks are also available on the Immolation compilation album "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)".

The two tracks on the demo are among the very early examples of US death metal and while acts like Death, Possessed and Morbid Angel had already pioneered the genre, Immolation should still be counted among the seminal acts in the genre if you ask me. The quality of the two tracks, the playing and the raw sound production are really successful to my ears and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

IMMOLATION Close to a World Below

Album · 2000 · Death Metal
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Warthur
Solid, unpretentious, death metal with no symphonic frills or hyper-technical aspirations - Immolation's Close To a World Below isn't an album which drips with originality so much as it's a direct bid to beat the likes of Morbid Angel, Deicide, or early Death at their own game. And whilst the album doesn't quite manage to outshine gems like the best albums by its influences, at the same time it's a credible part of the death metal landscape which proves that New York boys can play dirty, raw Florida-style death metal just as well as any of their competitors in the field.

IMMOLATION Kingdom Of Conspiracy

Album · 2013 · Death Metal
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UMUR
"Kingdom Of Conspiracy" is the 9th full-length studio album by US death metal act Immolation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in May 2013. There are always great expectations to a new Immolation album, which is only natural considering the band´s almost legendary status in the history of death metal. In the mid eighties, using the Rigor Mortis monicker, they were one of the first thrash metal acts to start incorporating more brutal death metal elements to their sound and they are widely and deservedly regarded as one of the seminal acts in the genre along with acts like Possessed, Death and Morbid Angel. Although the band´s debut album "Dawn of Possession" wasn´t released until 1991, they are one of the longest running acts on the scene.

Immolation have in many ways stayed true to their "core" sound since day one, but they have never stagnated and have always sought to develop their sound from album to album. Albeit in small steps. The same is true for "Kingdom Of Conspiracy", which is unmistakably the sound of Immolation, twisted just enough to give this particular album it´s own identity. Guitarists Robert Vigna´s and Bill Taylor´s inventive riffs are twisted and dissonant (and some nice soloing too), drummer Steve Shalaty provide the music with great rythmic variation (both blasting parts, technical parts and heavier parts) and Ross Dolan delivers convincing growling vocals as well as brutal bass playing. The technical level of the musicianship is generally very high. The current incarnation of the band have played together since "Harnessing Ruin (2005)" and it´s audible that they know each other´s strengths and understand how to use them. They are an incredibly tight playing unit. And that´s actually pretty interesting because I recently read in an interview that the members of Immolation live so far apart that they don´t rehearse together. They usually don´t even have time to rehearse together before going on tour and certainly not before entering the studio. It´s just another testimony to how skilled they actually are as musicians.

The music on the album is dark, energetic and unrelenting in it´s brutality. It´s packed in a powerful and clear sound production that brings out all the details in the music and makes "Kingdom Of Conspiracy" a slightly more accessible release than a lot of the early releases by the band. It´s only soundwise though because the music is still not an easy listen and Immolation´s trademark twisted and at times dissonant death metal sound is probably still not for everyone. However they do deliver the authentic and primal darkness that all death metal artists (at least the more old school sounding ones) try and conjure up and do it better than most. There are no compromises, no clean vocals, no keyboards. Just the brutal and technically well played music of one of the original bands of the genre.

The 40:53 minutes long album features 10 tracks. All between 3 and 5 minutes long. The tracks are to the point, but certainly not simple. The band make sure to challenge your mind while simoultaniously making your head bang all the way through the album. As mentioned this is not an easy listen and some listeners might find the lack of instantly recognisable hooks or catchy melodic guitar work an issue, but that´s just not what Immolation are about. "Kingdom Of Conspiracy" packs a lot of punch but it does require your full attention and probably multible spins before hooks begin to appear and the tracks begin to stand out from each other. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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