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Immolation - "Majesty And Decay" (CD)

Immolation - "Majesty And Decay" CD cover image

"Majesty And Decay" track listing:

1. Intro (1:19)
2. The Purge (3:18)
3. A Token of Malice (2:41)
4. Majesty and Decay (4:29)
5. Divine Code (3:38)
6. In Human Form (4:04)
7. A Glorious Epoch (4:37)
8. Interlude (2:04)
9. A Thunderous Consequence (3:58)
10. The Rapture of Ghosts (5:19)
11. Power and Shame (3:44)
12. The Comfort of Cowards (5:52)

Reviewed by on March 15, 2010

"A few new tricks are thrown into the mix, but 'Majesty and Decay' is still classic Immolation, tailor-made for all the old-school death metal worshippers."

To many metal fans, Immolation has been one of the bands synonymous with death metal. Even as the band closes in on their 25th anniversary, they haven’t lost their brutal edge. On their eighth album, “Majesty and Decay,” the band sticks to what has kept them relevant over the years. The intelligent message of blasphemy and destruction, the broad sonic scope, the low harsh growls of bassist Ross Dolan: all of the band’s trademarks are present and accounted for. A few new tricks are thrown into the mix, but “Majesty and Decay” is still classic Immolation, tailor-made for all the old-school death metal worshippers.

For the first time in the band’s career, they start out with an instrumental intro. Unlike their previous albums, where things got off to a furious start, “Majesty and Decay” makes the listener wait in anticipation for the ear slaughtering they receive on “The Purge.” Dolan spits out venom-soaked words like a fiery preacher leading his followers to the day of reckoning. Lines like “Wipe us all out, it's what we deserve/cleansing this planet from our disease” are given a hefty boost by Dolan’s invigorated delivery.

While the early portions of the album rely on the fury of death metal alone, the title track is the first prime indication that it won’t just be full speed ahead for the New York foursome. The willingness to slow the pace down and let the instrumental work take precedence is something that has made Immolation stand out from countless imitators. “The Raptures Of Ghosts” and “The Comfort Of Cowards” are mini-epics that minimize the blast beats and hyper speed riffs and focus on the harmonies between guitarists Bill Taylor and Robert Vigna. Drummer Steve Shalaty is the clear-cut MVP, not sticking to any restricted patterns and displaying fluidity in his foot work.

“Majesty and Decay” is given a clean production by producer Paul Orofino, who has been involved with Immolation since 1999’s “Failures For Gods.” It isn’t sleek enough to distract, but a little more rawness would have helped emphasize the grittiness of “Power and Shame” and “Divine Code.” Considering a lot of modern death metal albums sound processed and hollow, this album isn’t bad at all. Having used the same producer and recording studio for so long, the band has gotten into a comfort zone that has worked wonders for them. However, it would be interesting to see the band step out of the usual setting and producer on future albums and see what develops in unfamiliar territory.

At this point in their career, Immolation has their sound down pat. “Majesty and Decay” doesn’t deviate too much from the norm, though the instrumentals in the beginning and middle of the album are different for the band. Those two tracks are more filler than anything else, but the rest of the album is very strong. There is an even mix of heavy and menacing songs and the band sounds as sharp as ever. With “Majesty and Decay,” Immolation once again delivers another noteworthy death metal album to add to the already-large catalog they have ascertained since the early 90’s.

Highs: Ross Dolan's bellowing growls, nice blend of fast and menacing songs, fantastic drumming throughout the album.

Lows: Unnecessary instrumentals, lacking the rawness of earlier releases.

Bottom line: Immolation turns in another stellar performance on "Majesty and Decay."

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)