Ever since the release of their ferocious debut album, Dawn Of Possession, in 1991, Immolation have held a well-deserved reputation as one of death metal’s premier acts despite – or rather thanks to – a steady stream of releases. It’s been three years since their last full-length, Majesty And Decay, so it’s no surprise that expectations are high for Kingdom Of Conspiracy.
Thankfully the album proves to be, if not the band’s strongest offering, then certainly well worth the wait. Separating themselves from some of their more brutality-obsessed peers thanks to their ability to lace even the most crushing of numbers with a significant degree of feeling, Immolation once again serve up a devastating assault on the senses, but one that nonetheless dabbles with both catchiness and a sense of the epic.
As ever the group balance the preciseness of their assault – accentuated by a slightly clinical production this time around – with a notably emotional edge, slipping beneath the radar a subtle sense of atmospherics that goes someway beyond the norm for the genre. The Great Sleep, for example, has more than a touch of Norse black metal about it. Wielding crushing riffs as offensive weapons while peppering out technical touches, Immolation spend much of their time here with their foot on the pedal, but their willingness to embrace slower passages and dynamic songwriting make this an invigorating listen with a surprising amount of depth.
It’s fair to say that it’s not quite as strong as earlier albums such as Close To A World Below, but there is a touch of class here that puts it well ahead of your typical US death metal album.