Immolation

Shadows in the Light

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After issuing one of the most inspired and texturally varied records of their career in 2005's Harnessing Ruin, New York death metal veterans Immolation seemingly had one overriding goal in mind for its successor, 2007's Shadows in the Light: furious, rampant brutality. Which, in the hands of less capable acts (and even some as mighty as Krisiun or Incantation) might have equated with dull uniformity -- but not Immolation, whose talent for layering distinctive ingredients into even the harshest, most viscous extreme metal barrage is almost without peer, and precisely the key to their ongoing legend. That's not to say that it won't still take numerous listens for all but very experienced death metal fans to discern many of the elements fighting for attention on ultra-complex tracks such as "Hate's Plague," "World Agony" and "Lying with Demons," which have their guttural vocals, sinister harmonies, staccato riffing, and incessant percussion woven together so tightly, it seems that no air can get through at first. Another highlight, "The Weight of Devotion," forgoes some of its neighboring material's speed in exchange for punishing grooves punctuated with memorable discordant licks concocted by resident guitar wiz Robert Vigna -- one of death metal's most accomplished and respected players. He and six-string partner Bill Taylor also embark on parallel tour de forces in the devastating "Deliverer of Evil" and the Eastern-tinted "Whispering Death," and, along with their equally formidable bandmates, vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan and drummer Steve Shalaty, prove with Shadows in the Light that there are still few death metal combos who can compete with Yonkers' finest.

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