IMMOLATION — Dawn of Possession — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

IMMOLATION - Dawn of Possession cover
3.79 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1991

Filed under Death Metal


1. Into Everlasting Fire (5:15)
2. Despondent Souls (4:15)
3. Dawn of Possession (3:07)
4. Those Left Behind (5:13)
5. Internal Decadence (3:03)
6. No Forgiveness (Without Bloodshed) (4:12)
7. Burial Ground (3:41)
8. After My Prayers (5:54)
9. Fall in Disease (3:51)
10. Immolation (4:06)

Total Time: 42:42


- Ross Dolan / Vocals, Bass
- Robert Vigna / Guitar
- Tom Wilkinson / Guitar
- Craig Smilowski / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Roadrunner Records, July 19th, 1991

Produced by Harris Johns.
Engineered and Mixed by Harris Johns.
Recorded and Mixed at Musiclab Studios, in Berlin, Germany.
Cover illustration by Andreas Marschall.
Band photo by Carole Segal.
Logo by Mark Mastro.
Original logo concept by Renato Gallina.
Art direction by Patricia Mooney.

Re-released in February of 2003 on Polish label Metal Mind Productions.

Thanks to UMUR for the updates


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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.
Dawn Of Possession is the debut full-length studio album by American ( New York) death metal act Immolation. The album was released in July 1991 by Roadrunner Records. Immolation were along with fellow death metal acts Suffocation and Incantation, the leaders of the New York death metal scene in the early nineties. Dawn Of Possession is widely considered a classic album from that era. Immolation started out under the Rigor Mortis monicker in 1986 but changed their name to Immolation in 1988. So at the time when they recorded Dawn Of Possession, they had already existed for five years and released a string of demos under both monickers. Unlike most American death metal acts in the early nineties Immolation didn´t record Dawn Of Possession at the legendary Morrisound Studio in Tampa, Florida but opted to take the journey to the Musiclab Studios, in Berlin, Germany and work with producer Harris Johns.

The music on the album is technically well played US death metal. The lyrical themes are blasphemous and anti-religious and they are delivered with the right caustic and aggresssive attitude. One of the things that Immolation really understand is the importance of rythmic delivery of growling vocals. It´s a feature that most death metal acts neglect to focus on and therefore monotone death metal vocals mare far too many releases in the genre. Bassist/ vocalist Ross Dolan is one of those rare exceptions that makes it all worth it. Immolation would on later releases develop a very distinct twisted/ angular riffing style but on Dawn Of Possession the influence from especially early Morbid Angel is very audible and there are only few traces of the more unique style that the band would develop through the years.

The songs are well composed, powerful, brutal and very well played. It´s audible that the band had already existed for five years at this point, because their technical skills are on a high level considering that Dawn Of Possession is a debut album. The album is very consistent but as on most albums of the more brutal kind, it´s not easy to tell the songs apart until you´ve given the album many spins. It´s quite a rewarding journey though and I find Dawn Of Possession highly recommendable to fans of the more technical variation of old school US death metal. a 4 star rating is deserved.

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