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Immolation - Majesty and Decay
Review: Immolation remain under-recognized despite making quality death metal, but for a simple reason: lack of direction. Theirs is a story repeated in each track, without ever achieving the kind of topography that a concept album would, making them sound very generic. Their lyrics while intelligent never created a constructive formulation, and their songs become interchangeable because whatever they hoped to express never took definitive form, so each song is a different view of roughly the same ideas.
With Majesty and Decay, they try to hybridize their last two albums and simplify them into modern metal, or metalcore, which is a mixture of rock, punk and metal that tries to make each riff distinctive from the last to the point of absurdism, instead of the complementary riff structure and evolving contextual meaning of old school death metal. The result is a simplified and random Immolation that, while in key and rhythmically related from riff to riff, never achieves much of an atmosphere or linear expansion, which culminates in these songs being of the pop-song format that MTV delivers: verse/chorus-break-verse/chorus-symbolic resolution.
Although the result is not painful, it is also another failed attempt for Immolation to scale the heights of Here in After, in which songs did follow a narrative format and as a result, the album had a topography and progression between moods. Despite the attempts to make this recording fit a concept album style in song titles and pattern, it ends up being many small loops instead of one big storyline. Even more, riffs have been simplified with plenty of late 1980s heavy metal injected. My advice to Immolation is simple: quit trying to be death metal, and make the Mercyful Fate/Metallica hybrid you aspire to be. You'll enjoy it more and succeed at it far more than this bland album will.