THIS Is A Fucking Death Metal EP : IMMOLATION – "Providence"

ImmolationProvidence
Release: 2011Oct12
Label: Scion A/V
Rating: 4.5/5

You know who’s been pretty cool lately? Scion. The Metal unit of their A/V department have put themselves behind some notable names; in 2011, Enslaved, Wormrot, and Immolation are the heavy standouts. Of these, Providence is all I’m covering this year (despite recent EP propensity), and like my other favorite short-player this year, it’s themed around death. But this is a much darker, more ominous vision of destruction, oppression, war, and retaliation.

They got the outstanding Par Olofsson to illustrate; his normally-dense work feels subtler here, as the perfect symmetry of our conquerors is in focus above a burning wasteland. They appear as aircraft upon first glance, but closer inspection reveals angels of death, “making tombs of cities” in their wake. So say the Yonkers boys in the title track—a high point here.

Though the first tune I heard was “Swallow the Fear”, which I played live on-air after reporting its availability. It followed something with audible FCC-unfriendly lyrics (Rwake, I think) because the notion of levying outrageous fines for things like F-bombs and nipple-slips is entirely fear-based. I refuse and resist augmenting artists on my show, and likewise, the song cautions their audience against complacency, asserting: Our lack of courage has taken us down, our freedom is burning away / You bury your heads to soften the blow, but the strike will be just as deadly.

Also striking deadly—the fucking band. To function with purpose is critical—in life and in Metal (same thing, right?)—and the way these five songs are structured becomes clearer every time. Deceptively simple, the levels of layers and shading ensure innovation without flashiness; counterpoints, y’know? Whether it’s the memorable framework established in the twisted riffage of “What They Bring”; the “Murmaider”-esque motif in “Illumination”; blasphemous deity rejection in “Still Lost” (aside: does “blasphemy” apply when you don’t subscribe to the religion in the first place?); and an incredible upswing on the last two tracks that circles back to the brutal beginning in a murderous Mobius cycle.

Groans and squeals and even inhales are ripped from their instruments by founding guitarist Robert Vigna & now-decade-long axeman Bill Taylor; seriously, you hear those instruments breathe. Hell, there’s times that could give Hanneman & King a run for their money, with the otherworldly utterances from their living(?) instruments. And THIS is what bands aged 20+ years need to bring—an obvious confidence and the ability to back it up. This is an ideal time for Immolation to freely disseminate their material with the Scion backing, because no NYDM band this side of Suffocation is as universally respected as these trailblazers, and the kids need to recognize. And by the way, Ross Dolan is a monster vocalist while still slinging the four-string; what are you six-member-twin-frontman bands doing out there besides taking up too much goddamned space?

GET THIS SHIT NOW, YOU FOOL!

FCC OK
Try 1, 2, 4, 5

01. What They Bring
02. Illumination
03. Still Lost
04. Providence
05. Swallow the Fear

~MetalMattLongo

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