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Immolation - Close to a World Below
Review: As if rising from obscurity yet again Immolation create one of the finest death metal albums in recent memory in Close to a World Below, which builds a theory of dissonance behind pounding and incendiary death metal. Similar to exploratory speed metallers Voivod this band of NYDM technicalists wrap the scale into a full range of usage and align tones in succession and parallel to form a deepening wave of paradoxical harmonizing disharmony. Played with a range of technique that is the envy of "brutal death" bands worldwide, this progressive yet deathy music is often undernoticed because of its natural, understated sound; from the bullet-precise drumming at escaped convict speed to the intricate cryptophalangonomicon of changing harmony and lead melody that guitars drill into the head of the listener.
As refined and developed as this album is, it has not "matured" in the way that bands like Metallica and Slayer have "matured" or "developed." Resembling an avantgarde jazz exercise in some ways through its diligent changing of textures and phrasing along intricate percussion lines and fractured, recombined song structures. Similar to Slayer in their older days, structure here serves the riff and can vary from relatively simple to deft and complex inductions of multiple themes into a stream of logarithmic insertions decoding the discursive attributes to each subtheme as expressed in riff. Resonant harmonization implying a vast space of sudden emptiness lingers at the end of each song.
Historically, NYDM sensu Morpheus Descends approximates what is here more than the Incantation/Havohej school of nihilistic modal stripe death metal, so the riff salad style made famous by that scene is created with a detailed finesse in a language that is more otherworldly than bash in your head heavy. Through this mechanism the music expresses the lyrical concept in that it develops a parity with the object of conflict, religion, through the basic force of inspiration in this music which is a theme of creativity out of destruction. Heroic mythos here demonstrates its equality to "God" on conversational terms, expressed in a mathematics of sound beyond the immediate level of perception. The result challenges listeners but delivers a bounty of learning on the other side of perception.
Vocals and bass deliver firm and unyielding support to symphonies of dissonance. Chording complements technical wandering and abstractly symmetrical leads in culmination of these long songs fit into a shorter space with a flash of power. Sonorous yet violent, the fourth Immolation album contributes another dimension of evolution to the reborn genre of underground death metal.