The Scandinavian countries have been dominating death metal for so long that it's easy to forget how important a player the United States was during death metal's early years. Many of the American death metal pioneers who emerged in the late '80s or early '90s came from Florida, but the New York City area had some death metal pioneers as well -- and one of the Big Apple's pioneering death metal bands was Immolation, who celebrated their 24th anniversary in 2010. Granted, Immolation have had plenty of lineup changes since their formation back in 1986, but even so, their longevity is admirable. Immolation's sound has evolved over the years; on 2010's Majesty and Decay, they favor technical death metal with hints of black metal at times. Black metal isn't a huge influence on this sledgehammer of a CD; all of Ross Dolan's lead vocals are stereotypical death metal "Cookie Monster" growls, and there is no question that Majesty and Decay is a death metal album first and foremost. Nonetheless, scorching tracks like "The Purge" and "A Glorious Epoch" have enough black metal influence to add to the menacing vibe that Immolation were obviously going for. If the goal of Immolation's 2010 lineup -- Dolan on lead vocals and bass, Robert Vigna and Bill Taylor on guitar, and Steve Shalaty on drums -- was to convey an atmosphere of doom and destruction, they succeeded. Very few rays of light enter the darkly oppressive place that is Majesty and Decay. This 45-minute disc isn't the best or most essential release in Immolation's catalog, but it's still an exhilarating, respectable listen -- and one has to applaud their ability to stay together for 24 years, lineup changes and all.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson