In my view Immolation are a criminally underrated death metal band who should have the same status as Morbid Angel, Deicide, Six Feet Under and Cannibal Corpse. They’ve missed the boat in the mid nineties due to label setbacks and several line up changes. Albums like Here In After (1996), Close To A World Below (2000) and Unholy Cult (2002) are just as good as any death metal classic from the early nineties. Last year Robert Vigna and Co released their latest opus, entitled Majesty And Decay.
The trademark Immolation sound is instantly recognisable on Majesty And Decay. Ross Dolan’s familiar grunts, Robert Vigna’s wailing solos and dissonant guitar riffs and Steve Shalaty’s complex drumming patterns are back in full swing. What makes this album a stand-out in the impressive back catalogue is the incredibly strong song material.
The band’s technical prowess goes hand in hand with tight song writing. Despite the often complex nature, songs like The Purge, A Token Of Malice, Divine Code and A Thunderous Consequence flow like never before, thanks to cleverly used song structures. This brings Majesty And Decay to the same level as Close To A World Below and Unholy Cult, often regarded as the band’s finest work.
Another point of discussion are the band’s often questionable decisions when it comes down to the overall sound of their albums. It undeniably set Immolation apart from their peers, but it almost ruined Failures For Gods (1999) and Harnassing Ruin (2005) to a lesser extent. This is finally remedied on their present offering, because it has the best production in the history of the band. It’s clear, but heavy enough to give Majesty And Decay the punch it needs.
This album is their strongest offering since Unholy Cult. The overall quality is incredibly high, the atmosphere is stark as ever and it has the finest production in Immolation’s long history. Majesty And Decay is a modern death metal classic, hands down.
written by Raymond Westland