"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.