Immolation - Shadows in the Light
Century Media
Death Metal
10 songs (40'35")
Release year: 2007
Immolation, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

It was completely and purely intentional on my part to buy 2007 opuses by Vital Remains and Immolation together, that purchase was going to be my American death metal package of the year. In no way this is meant to be a “comparative” review, but Vital Remains went by rather quickly, with their strong musicianship resulting in songs being a little too long, brutality rather overpowering and Glen Benton making a parody of it all with his uninspired vocal performance. Shadows in the Light, on the other hand, practically has not left my music listening rotation since. As I stated below on these very pages, Immolation simply does not make bad albums, but with Shadows in the Light we are perhaps witnessing one of the best death metal albums of the young 21st century. Can it be true? If you are a death metal fan, I dare you to pick this up, be sucked in by the vortex that is modern day Immolation and make your opinion known. It is the unbelievable level of intricacy, the minute details that keep being discovered, which makes me play this album now for days on end.

I remember driving through a severe thunderstorm and listening to the sliding minor melody finishing World Agony when the moment of clarity came – this is not going to be an ordinary album. Contrary to popular belief that brutal death metal is monotonous and boring, Shadows in the Light, if anything, explores too many topics, tempo changes and textures. Even with the short and brutal opener Hate’s Plague Bob Vigna and Co. are showing that while they can match brutality and speed of Vital Remains and Krisiun, they are going to be introducing multiple tempo changes, dissonant sideways going melodies and ton of other nuances in their brand of downtuned New York Death Metal. Today’s Immolation combines humongous riffs (the opening moments of The Weight of Devotion from which the whole song unfolds), percussive rhythmic character, where Steve Shalaty explodes with periodic energy bursts, instead of constant fast blastbeat, unbelievably tortured, but always spot-on and fitting solos, and monstrous stomping groove (Passion Kill). And above all, the band shows that brutality, strong negative apocalyptic or anti-Christian message can be combined with superbly crafted music. Shadows in the Light proves that you don’t have to be sloppy and underproduced to claim the death metal throne.

Immolation musicianship at this point is superb. Militaristic march of Lying with Demons is air-leak tight, and Ross Dolan’s bass is strong and prominent. It manages to occupy its own particular slot in the music, without impinging on the lower register guitar moments or muting the snare or bass drum. Vigna/Taylor solos jump octaves, bend and twist, but last just the right amount of time and convey the feeling specific to every individual song, practically corresponding to the lyrics. On World Agony it is the feeling of apocalypse and environmental disaster, on Passion Kill the disgust for all the things “God will do with you” and it is the vultures-terrorists waiting to pounce, circling overhead, on the title track.

Speaking of vocals and lyrics, you do not even need the lyrics sheet to hear almost every word coming out with Dolan’s towering growl generated deep inside his chest cavity. Note to Benton - if you have the strong message you might as well make it heard, otherwise what’s the point. And if you do decide to read the Immolation lyrics, I can guarantee you will be impressed by the depths of the issues raised and intelligence with which they are discussed.

Perhaps the best description I can give this album – Shadows in the Light gives you the power to stand firm, arms crossed chest level, observing while humanity slides into inevitable ultimate downfall. Just witness the “inferno to be continued” album’s closing riff of Whispering Death. It is likely workmanlike Immolation will release more albums, but Shadows in the Light will be impossible to top.

Killing Songs :
This is one superb album
Alex quoted 93 / 100
Other albums by Immolation that we have reviewed:
Immolation - Acts of God reviewed by Goat and quoted 88 / 100
Immolation - Atonement reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Immolation - Kingdom of Conspiracy reviewed by Jared and quoted 82 / 100
Immolation - Majesty and Decay reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
Immolation - Close To A World Below reviewed by Dylan and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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