Recommended Aussie Tunes:Psycroptic | The new single "A Fragile Existence" | Listen

Album Reviews : Immolation – Atonement

By on February 26, 2017

622323The crew from Yonkers, New York deliver an exquisite slab of death metal fortifying a career rivalling any of their more celebrated Floridian contemporaries.

Ross Dolan (vocals and bass) and Robert Vigna (Guitar) have been ploughing the USDM field since their debut for Roadrunner Records Dawn of Possession landed in ’91. How much has changed for the pair in that time rests with personnel, management and the more financially oriented departments as the music is a literal and only gradual progression- frankly that’s not a bad thing. Atonement is the result of an unhesitatingly stoic determination to deliver the very best version of USDM the band could deliver drawing on a 25 year recording career.

Will Atonement earn the band some new followers? Possibly. That’s an important point as they are now into their third album with the wonderful Nuclear Blast. Immolation recently appeared on the font cover of USA based ‘Decibel’ magazine which apparently achieves circulation of 50,000 … I can’t imagine that the magazine would take a chance on leading with a band or artist that couldn’t at least help meet those numbers in light of the recent cancellation then reinstatement of the UK’s ‘Metal Hammer’. Interest in Atonement is sure to be rewarding for the listener and long may the band command the front pages of metal mags and we-zines the globe over.

Robert Vigna is potentially the most underappreciated guitarist in the extreme- metal domain. How he has somehow avoided the spotlight that other outstanding guitarists such as Terrence Hobbs (Suffocation) and one time Slayer touring member, Pat O’Brien (Cannibal Corpse) obtained is a bit of a mystery. In preparation for this review I trawled YouTube for clips and interviews with Vigna… he’s an impressive bloke. Articulate in that Noo Yawk drawl and possessing an incendiary live guitar tone (check out “Father you’re not a Father Live”). On Atonement there is the type of bolt –upright death metal riffage any younger or aspiring guitarist willing to improve their craft should listen to in isolation of time wasting and soulless omni-channel devices, especially so given former Incantation and current Master live guitarist Alex Bouks offers worthy support. The pair put forward a master-class in death metal guitar engineering.

Ross Dolan’s vocal stylings are momentous. Another native of NY and holding the regions broad accent, none of that seems to influence his guttural gnarl except perhaps through the dominant posture Dolan assumes on stage. Long-time percussion wiz Steve Shalaty rounds out the band’s sound through a hard as granite bed of blast beats and 32nd notes.

Atonement works as a pyroclastic flow, with the Formulas Fatal to the Flesh meets De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas sounding grinder, “Fostering the Divide”, an ever so subtle high-point across an album rich in the traditions of great death and extreme metal.

Band: Immolation
Album: Atonement
Year: 2017
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Origin: United States


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith