The perks of having a closed approach to musical tastes is that when you finally wise up and give into the various genres and sub-genres out there, you find a plethora of good material to dig into. Immolation would fall into that “good material” category for yours truly. As much as I feel a tinge of shame in confessing that “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is the first Immolation record that I have properly checked out, I can’t ignore the evident fanboyish glee with which I lapped up this solid slab of crushing Death Metal LP. Veteran Death Metallers, Immolation hail from the Big Apple, and consist of Ross Dolan (bass/vocals), Steve Shalaty(drums), Robert Vigna and Bill Taylor (guitars).” Kingdom of Conspiracy” is their 9th release.

“Kingdom of Conspiracy” kicks off with the title track which gives you the gist of things to expect from the album. The song structuring is more or less the same on all of the tracks. It’s pretty much straightforward and yet it sounds intelligible and awe-inspiring in a Vigna-sort of way, given that he composes most of the material. “God Complex” features one of my favourite riffs on the album during the verse. “Indoctrinate” would be another number which strikes out from the others thanks to Dolan’s vocal work, and not to mention the eerie little lead-work from Vigna. One of the pros of the album would be the fact that none of the Death Metal sound nuances are done to death, which cuts down any seeping chances of monotony severely. Other stand out tracks includes “Echoes of Despair” and “Serving Divinity”.

For a Death Metal band, there is a lot to be said about Immolation’s clarity. The production details have been deftly handed and to some extent the lack of the organic, gritty feel that comes with a Death Metal album makes it more accessible for new fans like me. Composition wise, guitarist Robert Vigna leaves no stone unturned in making his presence felt. Hailed as one of the most skilled Death Metal guitarists out there, Vigna returns with his kitty of wailing, squealing goodness. He leaves a number of memorable angular riffs and solos strewn all over the album, like little demonic hidden cookies waiting to have a go at your jugular.

Ross Dolan’s deep, low growls complement the ominous instrumental work. Like a man with a religious agenda (or anti-religious, anti-political in this case) Dolan performs an unholy ritual of sorts, where the vocals hit you back and forth in wake of the guitar parts (or is it the other way round?).

Boasting of 10 tracks “Kingdom of Conspiracy” clocks at around 40 minutes of run-time. “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is just another ladder step for a band of Immolation’s stature. For anyone who wishes to get into more of the band’s material, I would recommend that you start with the albums “Unholy Cult”, and “Close to a World Below”, which I concluded to be two of the fiercest albums I have heard to date.

Depending on whether you are familiar with the genre or not, what does not work out or what does work out would be the incessant lack of high pitched squeals/growls. Also, the skin-slamming might not be just plain filler/ or blind blast-beats all the way but they fail to be at a par with the guitars and vocals. But rest assured all of that are inferences from essential nit-picking, and not to debunk Shalaty’s skill.

In all of the 25 years they have made scared nuns and priests run and hide behind pews, “Kingdom of Conspiracy” is one of the most near-flawless gems produced by the band. This time around the lyrics are more politically themed, akin to the last few “Immolation” records. In the honest opinions of yours truly and given my latest tryst with the gorier side of the genre, I would put this record on the same list as Necrophagist’s “Onset of Putrefaction” and Cannibal Corpse’s “Wretched Spawn”.

– Aurko

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