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Impending Doom - "Death Will Reign" (CD)

Impending Doom - "Death Will Reign" CD cover image

"Death Will Reign" track listing:

1. Ravenous Disease
2. Death Will Reign
3. Beyond The Grave
4. My own Maker
5. Doomsday
6. Rip, Tear, and Burn
7. Hellhole
8. My Blood
9. Endless
10. Live or Die
11. The Great Divine

Reviewed by on January 31, 2014

"The band’s dedication to literalism has been its unwavering torch over the past four albums, lending immediacy to the sound, which has been pushed mightily forward with 'Death Will Reign.'"

The expression “go to hell” is tossed out like chewed-up gum in the modern world, but its origin is nevertheless significant. Quite literally, it is an expression of ill will towards an individual and a command to make one’s way down to the literal hell, where one belongs. For Impending Doom, it holds that exact literal meaning, made even more threatening by its phrasing and delivery on this record -- “You deserve the fire,” howled like a hound of hell. The band’s dedication to literalism has been its unwavering torch over the past four albums, lending immediacy to the sound, which has been pushed mightily forward with “Death Will Reign.”

“There Will Be Violence” and “Baptized In Filth,” the two prior albums, had both been cleverly written and well-executed blends of death metal and hardcore, but left critics wanting more, in light of acclaimed sophomore album, “The Serpent Servant.” Whatever void had been created with the inception of those albums has now been filled in their passing with the birth of “Death Will Reign.” For one, Brandon “B-town” Trahan’s drumming is at a new peak, evident from the very first song, “Ravenous Disease.” His double-kick rhythms are lightning-fast, but slip by the uncritical listener. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to believe that anyone can actually move their feet as fast as his seem to be going. The rhythms throughout the record are refined so as to deliver the maximum punch and groove, most evident on songs like “My Own Maker,” “Death Will Reign,” “Rip, Tear, and Burn,” “Live or Die,” and “Hellhole.” Further, the production is wonderfully natural and space-conscious.

Moreover, the lyrics, as mentioned, are still quite noticeably forceful and Christian, with some even threatening - “I'd tear off the lids of your eyes / to make you watch and learn / the sins of your past have left you to burn in the hellhole.” In our earlier video interview in 2012, the band members revealed just how literal they are. This is confrontationally Christian deathcore at its finest, and regardless of how you personally feel about the religious angle, their lyrical legitimacy does absolutely nothing to take away from the intensity of the music. An absolute wall of sound, the guitars of Manny Contreras and Eric Correa consume an immense space in the grand scheme of the sound, cutting like sawblades through the air. Moreover, vocalist Brook Reeves’ voice has never sounded more fierce, as well as the highly-compressed reverberation on his multi-tracked voices, adding dimensions to it.

The juxtaposition of guitar lines that Manny Contreras was known for, the hanging high notes over the chugging grind of lower notes, are back and often defining of the song they occupy, making for a more complete picture of sound. This is the sound of Impending Doom as it needs to be from here forward. In their eyes, surely it’s the sound of the forces of light waging war against the darkness, camouflaged in that darkness for protection. In the eyes of the world, regardless of the religion, it sounds like an extraordinarily coordinated assault of precision riffing, drum pounding, and cathartic howling. Any fan of deathcore will understand this record immediately and love it in time.

Highs: "Rip, Tear, and Burn," "Live or Die," and "My Own Maker"

Lows: This is highly confrontational Christian metal, although you'd be remiss in passing on it for just that reason.

Bottom line: A top-quality, groove-heavy deathcore fifth album that hits like a ton of bricks.

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)