Immolation

Here in After

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In the five years between their debut album and Here in After, Immolation refined their creative vision into something more than a blend of their influences. This is an album of pure death metal, while earlier efforts still contained significant components of the thrash metal sound of the 1980s. The bending, winding pinch harmonic riffs that characterized Dawn of Possession are still abundant, but songs are now much more complex and harmonically dense. Rather than defining melody through single-string tremolo-picking, Immolation prefer a more rhythmic sense of composition. Dissonant chords are repeatedly used as emphasis over blastbeats, before everything slows to a gloomy crawl. A tendency toward syncopation and off-kilter drumming gives Immolation's sound an unsettling, wavering feel that can almost be described as "funky" (in the darkest sense of the word). The thick chord voicings favored by guitarist Bob Vigna are atonal in a way likely influenced by Voivod's Piggy d'Amour. While the playing on this release is extremely technical, it does not have the mechanical precision of other death metal bands. Bizarre time signatures and finger gymnastics give the impression of a decrepit ghost ship in murky, choppy waters rather than a robotic assassin. While song structures tend to meander, a clear narrative emerges through the repetition and variation of themes. Here in After is a complicated stew with plenty of flavors, yet each has a role to play. This album represents the invention of a new system of death metal composition that, while not as common as other iterations of the genre, is among the most engaging. The influence of Immolation is understated, yet it can be clearly heard in the discordance of bands like Gorguts. Here in After is a milestone in Immolation's long career and represents a foundational work of harmony in death metal.

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