Monday, July 16, 2012
Immolation - Harnessing Ruin
By far the weakest album released by the band throughout the entirety of their existence. Make no mistake... there is no radikulting going on here or anything even remotely limp wristed for that matter. It's just a weak and boring album. This is the kind of shit you would expect a posse of heroin addicts to record after three or four days of withdrawal. I guess it makes sense that after 5 albums of weirdo dissonance strewn about a flawlessly haunted atmosphere, the band would eventually crash into a creative brick wall and release such an uninspired slab of rust as this.
The vocal performance is of no consequence as this is pure Ross Dolan doing only what he knows how. I feel confident in saying that I HIGHLY doubt you'll ever hear this Man crooning on about pink dildos and broken hearts. This is also the first album to feature Steve Shalaty of Ohio's 'Odious Sanction' behind the kit. It bummed me out at first to find out that Alex Hernandez took a hike as I felt his bizzaro approach fit Immo's equally spaced out take on all things brutal like a glove, especially considering that by their third album together (2002's 'Unholy Cult'), the chemistry was at its peak and things could only get better from there. Oh well.
The real problem is in the riffs. I'm not quite sure what ol' Bob was attempting here but the end result is the aural equivalent of flat soda. No pizzazz whatsoever. Kind of makes you wince a little at first and wonder if the rest of the bottle tastes like this or was it some fluke bastion poured from out of its confines. Nope. No fluke here folks. Just a collection of songs that should've stayed on the back burner.
The guitars and production sound similar to that of 'Failures for Gods' and 'Unholy Cult'. Whereas 'Close to a World Below' and 'Shadows in the Light' have a more muddier, bassier sound, this album has a very raw and stripped down feel that sort of takes away from the simplicity of the songs themselves. Another thing in regards to the simplicity of the song structures is that normally I have no problem with a band going for a more "minimalist" approach, I mean hell, I love Thergothon, Celtic Frost, etc, but while going minimalist is fine and dandy, the riffs chosen for such an endeavor should also be interesting, something that the rhythmic passages on 'Harnessing Ruin' are not.
What's most painful about this release is that there really isn't anything good on it. Granted, it's not a "stab in the back" betrayal such as Morbid Angel's last album or anything even remotely close to that level. It is just not an exciting album to listen to whatsoever. The very beginning drum roll and riff of 'Challenging the Storm' is decent enough and somewhat promising until it becomes apparent that the song is going nowhere and the song 'Harnessing Ruin' is the only standout track in its entirety as it could easily fit into any of Immolation's essential offerings with its evil vibe being exuded consistently throughout.
Lastly, am I the only one who was more than a little bummed with Immolation's persistence in using that shamefully pretentious logo that they've been sporting since 'Failures...'?