All of this band’s songwriting since 1996’s Here in After has been a steady building progression leading up to this point, Harnessing Ruin, Immolation’s magnum opus. Slowing tempos down, simplifying the songs, and a much more relaxed recording process have made Immolation’s already awe-inspiring brand of ultra-heavy, technical Death Metal more addictive than ever. Embracing their new found fondness of melody, they have created their catchiest, most memorable album to date, and that’s really saying something when you reflect on this band’s back catalog. Make no mistake, these guys still fucking shred. There’s still healthy amounts of speed, dizzying dynamics, and twisted angular riffing, but it’s the melodies, rich in despondency and tonal wickedness, that make the difference. Lyrically there is no change, still the utmost contempt and mockery aimed at the bastard Nazarene and his blind sheep, and new drummer Steve Shalaty successfully fills Alex Hernandez’s shoes and then some. Factor in a more natural production featuring the meatiest guitar sound they’ve ever achieved, and you have total improvement on every level. Admittedly, the last three tracks qualify as filler by Immolation’s lofty standards, but songs like “Swarm of Terror,” “Our Savior Sleeps,” “Dead to Me,” “Son of Iniquity,” and the majestic title track stick like Krazy glue and are arguably the best songs this legendary underground band has ever written.
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