They don’t have the same star status of some of their Floridian brethren, nor the commercial clout of Behemoth or Nile, but New York state’s Immolation are very close to the hearts of death metal purists. Why? Because after nearly 30 years, they’re still conjuring up pitch black, claustrophobic albums like Atonement, records that seethe with malevolence and remind us of what extreme music can become when ripped from its creators’ dark imaginations.
Since crawling out of Yonkers in 1988, Immolation have produced a slew of landmark releases and Atonement is up there with the best of them: the title track alone brings to mind 2000’s Close To A World Below, such is the song’s thunderous, scything groove, and on the likes of Fostering The Divide and The Distorting Light, the quartet build nightmarish sonic structures, with dissonant riffs and surging drum patterns acting as their bricks and mortar. The Power Of The Gods, meanwhile, is aptly named – the track crushes you with divine might, and it crackles with otherworldly energy.
Atonement – like much of the band’s work – is a challenge, but that’s what keeps this pioneering act so intriguing, so vital. Death metal needs Immolation right now, make no mistake.