New York's iconic death metal institution kick off their newest, Majesty and Decay, with ample amounts of wrath and brimstone that sets the pace for the entire album. The opening salvo The Purge is timeless Immolation and fans of their previous work are well catered for throughout its deadly twists. More goodies befall the listener's ear for the pestilential treat A Token of Malice while the flames grow into enormous proportions for the title track. A couple of songs best accompanied by a boiling moshpit come next and the aural oven that's the Robert Vigna-Bill Taylor guitar duo are in fine form, setting speakers ablaze with their mammoth sized riffs.
On the production front, Majesty and Decay is as evil a death metal platter as can be without resorting to Cannibal Corpse tempos or the bludgeoning brutality of Suffocation. Majesty and Decay simply breathes, uh, majesty and decay. The album feels like there was a dark cloud hovering above the studio as the band laid down their tracks. For a complete taste of this mood, go for the epic A Glorious Epoch, which incinerates whatever doubts the listener might have over these guys being too old. A brooding interlude stews for a few relieving minutes before the assault begins anew. A Thunderous Consequence gets the blood circulating faster and the album begins to race headlong toward a spectacular finish through The Rapture of Ghosts and the muscular Power and Shame until The Comfort of Cowards marks the drawing of the curtains.
Being the seasoned studio unit, Immolation's personnel are in prime condition on 100% of Majesty and Decay, though a discriminating set of ears may find the drums a little too weak. Not that Steve Shalaty's percussion work is sub par—certainly not—but the mixing falls short of our expectations. Percussion on this end of the metal spectrum is often furious, but for this album, it's blanketed by the overwhelming guitars and almost stifled. Growler-bassist Ross Dolan however, is in top form. The man has burning coals in his throat. A powerful release that sets the bar higher for the rest of the scene. Br00tal fun guaranteed.