Wednesday, 4 July 2012

IMMOLATION - Here In After (1996)

01  Nailed To Gold    
02  Burn With Jesus    
03  Here In After    
04  I Feel Nothing    
05  Away From God    
06  Towards Earth    
07  Under The Supreme    
08  Christ's Cage

'Here In After' is the second album by Immolation. It was released on February 13, 1996 through Metal Blade Records after the band was dropped from Roadrunner Records. This is the last album to feature drummer Craig Smilowski. The cover artwork was provided by Andreas Marschal.

Immolation's sophomore effort, nearly five years in the making after 1991's 'Dawn of Poossession' was the result of a protracted evolutionary period that saw the band transform from a relatively standard atmospheric NYDM sound to a genre-redefining, cacophonous orchestra. Right from the opening strains of "Nailed To Gold", you can tell that this is no ordinary death metal album. Songs like "I Feel Nothing" are a great example of how this band can make good hooks that sound evil. The vocals are easy to understand, and they are completely nihilistic and anti-Christian. Immolation crushes all the fallacies of the bible with each song, and shows no remorse.

The bending, winding pinch harmonic riffs that characterized 'Dawn Of Possession' are still abundant, but songs are now much more complex and harmonically dense. Rather than defining melody through single-string tremolo-picking, Immolation prefer a more rhythmic sense of composition. Dissonant chords are repeatedly used as emphasis over blastbeats, before everything slows to a gloomy crawl. A tendency toward syncopation and off-kilter drumming gives Immolation's sound an unsettling, wavering feel. The music is very bass heavy and not just on Ross Dolan's bass, but the bass drums as well. It serves to give the music a much deeper sound overall and gives the album a somewhat "bouncy" vibe.

There are flaws amongst the majesty here, of course. When you have an album that defies convention so consistently, there's bound to be some excess that goes untrimmed. Fortunately, most of that is confined to one song - the exorbitantly convoluted and overwritten "Towards Earth". It's not a bad song, but it contains at least a minute's worth of needless riffage that doesn't really add anything to it. There are also some issues with the production - it took Immolation until their 5th album to discover a balance that did justice to both the atmospheric and technical aspects of their music.

Along with the band's heavily lauded debut record, I'd say 'Here In After' is a good place to start if you are new to Immolation's brand of menacing NYDM. It is very much a classic of its time, if somewhat overlooked these days and I would say it comes across quite similar in sound to the output of dutch outfit, Sinister. Immolation would only really top their first two relases in my opinion with 2000's 'Close To A World Below', but I'll get round to that at another time....

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