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IMMOLATION - Atonement cover
4.46 | 12 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2017

Filed under Death Metal


01. The Distorting Light (3:14)
02. When the Jackals Come (3:54)
03. Fostering the Divide (3:27)
04. Rise the Heretics (3:41)
05. Thrown to the Fire (4:04)
06. Destructive Currents (4:26)
07. Lower (4:01)
08. Atonement (4:32)
09. Above All (4:55)
10. The Power of Gods (3:58)
11. Epiphany (4:22)

Total Time 44:34


- Ross Dolan / Bass, Vocals
- Robert Vigna / Guitars
- Steve Shalaty / Drums

About this release

Label: Nuclear Blast
Catalog ID: NB 3511-0 / 27361 35110
CD, Vinyl (5 colours), Cassette, Download.
Release date: February 24th, 2017

Thanks to Nightfly for the addition and adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"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.
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!

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