IMMOLATION
"Shadows in the Light"

(Century Media)

01. Hate's Plague
02. Passion Kill
03. World Agony
04. Tarnished
05. The Weight of Devotion
06. Breathing the Dark
07. Deliverer of Evil
08. Shadows in the Light
09. Lying with Demons
10. Whispering Death

RATING: 8/10

IMMOLATION has been around the label block, seemingly finding a stable home in Olympic Recordings before it folded, and now the group ends up on Century Media (at the time, Olympic's parent company), and deservedly so. Through it all, the New York death metal legends have maintained a distinctive sound, as well as a loyal, steadily growing fan base. The only change to that distinctive sound on "Shadows in the Light" is a compacting of the songwriting, whereas past releases rode a sinister riff into the night for several extra minutes.

The band began mixing things up a bit on the excellent "Harnessing Ruin", retaining the core of what is heard on "Unholy Cult", but tweaking the arrangements significantly to set it apart from its predecessor. The band was even able to squeeze in an extra song on "Harnessing Ruing", to make a total of nine and interrupting a long string of albums that stuck to an eight-song limit. "Shadows in the Light" tops off with a whopping 10, owing to song lengths that mostly run in the three to four minute range (it's not been since 1991's "Dawn of Possession" that an album had 10 songs).

The patented IMMOLATION elements are all here though, including Bob Vigna's unorthodox riffs and soloing, drummer Steve Shalaty's free-flowing drumming style, vocalist Ross Dolan's enunciated, evil growls, and that frightening riffing style that's always a tad askew. And let's not forget veteran IMMOLATION engineer Paul Orofino who, along with INCANTATION engineer Bill Korecky, has mastered the art of infusing a sickening and dirty sound with instrument clarity.

Once again, there are no duds in the songwriting department. Look for "Passion Kill" specifically to end up a long-time staple in the IMMOLATION live set. As alluded to earlier, the main difference is a more traditional writing structure in which a riff heard in the first part of the song will probably be heard later on, the result a relatively more accessible (at least in death metal terms) approach. Fortunately, it takes nothing away from the fact that "Shadows in the Light" is yet another quality IMMOLATION product.

"Shadows in the Light" is the IMMOLATION sound that you've come to know and love; the band just gets to the point quicker on this one. I was more taken with "Harnessing Ruin" and albums previous to it, but if a rating of 8/10 is taken to mean anything less than another strong IMMOLATION release, then the point has surely been missed.

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