Staying power is one of the few attributes that are put forward in the arena of Death Metal. Hardly the most accessible of sub genres, however when you do get into bed with the genre it’s hard to get out. Belligerently sticking around amid the nineties grunge movement, Death Metal is the exact embodiment of the extreme. Understanding this pushing of boundaries both in extremity and in a quest for the experimental, Immolation are one of the genres bleak beacons. Combining their dissonant arrangements where drums, bass and guitar seem to disagree until somehow coming to a resolute understanding. Having been a year since their last visit, Immolation make a special appearance this Good Friday at London’s Underworld.
Off to a somewhat unexpected start, the technical set up of the band seems to hindered by a minor glitch in sound. Quickly rectified, the band come out,with singer Ross Dolan positively dwarfing The Underworld’s feeble stage. As the dissonant lead lines of “The Distorting Light” bleed through the PA, the ominous sense of dread the band drag with them is felt throughout the venue. Shattered in a second with the unrelenting snare courtesy of Steve Shalaty navigating potential technical pitfalls that present themselves in almost all of Immolation’s songs, this band were simply made to play this kind of music. Keeping the pace topped up the band roll out modern masterpiece “Majesty And Decay” number going down a treat.
Fan favourites “Higher Coward” brig the material from the classic Close To A World Below and “Swarm of Terror” of course go down a treat but the surprise lies in the newer material. Already well rooted in the minds of fans the likes of “Destructive Currents” are deafening, not to mention executed to perfection by a band who understands exactly what their fans want. With that in the mind the band have cherry picked a variety of material from the first track they ever wrote “Immolation” to “A Spectacle Of Lies” no doubt fulfilling longstanding fans’ desires.
Opting for more of a simplified songwriting, new album Atonement is some of the band’s strongest material in years. Particular highlight coming from the inclusion of “Fostering The Divide” whose colossal weight translates even better in a live setting compounding the simplified song structure to create something truly remarkable. Understanding when to jab and when to parry the band navigate what could have been an absolute minefield with ease. If there would be anything to take away from tonight, Immolation have an incredibly simple set up for what is ironically such a technical band. Aided no doubt by tonight’s pitch perfect sound, as Bob Vigna‘s erratic but no less focused guitar leads work in tandem with Dolan‘s carnal growls. With no need for smoke and mirrors the band are able to conjure up their absolutely stupendous sound in a club as small as the this. Despite its name of The Underworld, the club scarcely looks ominous in its usual setting. However at the behest of Immolation, you could be forgive for thinking that we are Close To A World Below.