Friday, January 26, 2007

Album Review: Immolation - “Dawn Of Possession” (Re-Released/Remastered)

There are lots of old-school death metal fans who think the best death metal is the earliest death metal. There are also death metal fans who think death metal should be done the right way or in other words with no interest in creativity. So there are lots of death metal fans who would say that Immolations first album all the way back in 1991 is perfect.

There are also people who consider death metal to be an acceptable form of music, and that’s it’s perfectly fine to have some death metal albums in their collection. With the world of extreme music changing rapidly under the surface, many new fans of extreme music in general are looking back in time, myself included.

It’s always weird listening to the earlier work of a band who took awhile to find their voice. While I had heard the band name Immolation a significant amount growing up gracing the pages of the metal magazines I read, I had never actually heard them until I heard the mp3 “Furthest From The Truth” offered on their spot on the Metal Blade web page. Then later I picked up their 2005 album “Harnessing Ruin”.

Immolation has always had a reputation for not making the same album twice, yet at the same time they have a very unique identifiable sound. It’s difficult to describe as a lot of bands already use odd time signatures and dissonant tones as part of their sonic identity. One thing that has remained constant even with their first album is an overall feeling of depression. Depression is an odd sensation to come upon with harsher death metal which is focussed a bit more on being fast and/or brutal.

Going back in time and listening to “Dawn Of Possession” you can hear a lot of moments that precipitate the signature sound of Immolation, and yet at the same time there’s a lot of standard death metal involved, such as simple speedily picked riffs. Something I was a bit surprised about was the lack standard blast beats, instead the drums come off a bit hardcore at times. “Dawn Of Possession” doesn’t quite hold up as well today even with the re-mastering job which probably takes a lot of the old jagged sound away and makes the production quality very tolerable. Those tremolo picked riffs sound even more generic after thousands of death metal bands have played similarly styled riffs. I will admit, the overall quality level only sounds slightly dated, fortunately its to the point where it transports you back in time.

Some old-school death metal bands who released their first albums around the time of 1989 to 1991 were able to set standards right out of the gate because they had a signature sound to start with, some of those being difficult to emulate, others so easy to clone you can pinpoint exactly where they got it from. Is “Dawn Of Possession” an essential death metal album? Well, it hasn’t appeared on any essential lists from any publications that I’ve read.

What Immolation has really done was to evolve over time to eventually create a unique sound.


Immolation At MySpace
Immolation At Listenable Records
Immolation At Century Media


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