Album Review: Immolation - "Kingdom of Conspiracy"

Immolation is a death metal band from Yonkers, New York that knows its niche. Steeped in the rules and regulations of American death metal, Immolation is straight ahead, no frills death complete with biting riffs and ugly, guttural vocals.

Immolation and their new album “Kingdom of Conspiracy” delivers on the promise of all we’ve come to expect from baseline death metal. There is excellent recitation of all the usual tenets: relentless, unforgiving percussion reigns supreme as rage-soaked guitars and grit-stained vocals weave tales railing against the pillars of religion, corruption and populism.

Unfortunately, all that I said above means that “Kingdom of Conspiracy” sounds formulaic. And it goes beyond contextual or thematic similarity. About half the songs on this record fit musically into the same pattern. There’s a prevailing sense that the drawing board during songwriting was etched with the following template: ‘blistering opening, primal scream, guitar riff with an accented or bent note at the tail, bridge, solo, outro.’

Unlike their European death counterparts, Immolation attempts to preserve their cutting edge by axing flair and anything that might not be authentic. Which is fine in concept, but they go too far, sacrificing both variety and creativity.

Now, “Kingdom of Conspiracy” has some merit in the form of solid guitar work and all the highlighted solos of “Keep the Silence” and “Indoctrinate.” There should have been more than these small sample sizes to break up the uniformity of pounding and one-track vocal performances. A greater expansion of the boundaries might have led to this album being more technically interesting.

I feel like this review isn’t very substantial, but as I read it again, I can’t think of anything to add. For the first time in a long time, I’ve encountered an album that doesn’t evoke much conversation or many talking points. If you’re heard the title track and “Bound to Order,” you’ve basically heard “Kingdom of Conspiracy” without even getting to track three. It is what it is.

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