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Close to a World Below

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Album Review

After participating in the initial wave of innovation in New York death metal in the late '80s and early '90s, Immolation continued to develop in a harmonically dense, technical direction. On their fourth full-length album, Close to a World Below, they find a late career voice. While time signatures remain elusive and chord voicings remain convoluted, the total number of riffs per song is significantly reduced. While individual parts have more breathing room, the overall effect is significantly more suffocating. Lurching, percussive passages intimidate and horrify, and dissonant chords create a thick sonic fog. The combination of dissonance, doomy passages, and bizarre guitar techniques treads into the same otherworldly territory Gorguts mapped out on 1998's Obscura. The most remarkable thing about Close to a World Below is the capacity for specific melodic and rhythmic motifs to rise out of the chaos and grab the listener. Immolation's intuition remains grounded in themes that easily touch subconscious desires for melodic resolution and rhythmic satisfaction. While Immolation were New York death metal innovators during the late '80s and early '90s, they also released one of the most profound and creative death metal albums of the 2000s, giving a new voice to a genre deluged with cookie-cutter clones.

Customer Reviews

I can see why some people would not like Immolation...

due to the exceedingly offensive lyrics relating to Christianity. My advice? Cry some more about it. Immolation rules, and your God has no response to them. Hail Immolation.

Technical Masterpiece

Immolation has long been an underrated band, being overshadowed by peers Suffocation, maybe because their music is so technical it that it doesn't suit everyone's tastes. I like the complex rapid changes and how the rapid blast beat drumming of Alex Hernandez followes instead of leads the dualing guitars. Lost Passion, Unpardonable Sin, and Put My Hand in the Fire are standouts. The closer and title track Close to a World Below isa Masterpiece of tempo changes, and pure technical precision. The opening of this song is slow, crunchy and doomy and sets the stage for one of the best Death Metal songs ever written recalling Immolation's brutal Dawn of Possesion track, "Those Left Behind" Hey iTunes where is Dawn of Possesion anyway? Fans of Nile (Karl Sanders himself has commented on the complexity of Immolation's song structures), Suffocation, Origin or Necrophagist will truly enjoy this overlooked jewel.


This album has influenced me in so many ways. Immolation are legends. This album is perfect.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the United States' most influential death metal group's, Immolation formed in Yonkers, New York in 1986; originally dubbed Rigor Mortis, the group first comprised singer/bassist Ross Dolan, guitarists Robert Vignaud and Thomas Wilkinson, and drummer Craig Smilowski. After a series of well-received demos, Immolation signed to Roadrunner in 1991 to issue their debut album, Dawn of Possession; a five-year gap (and a move to Metal Blade) preceded the follow-up Here in After. With new drummer Alex...
Full Bio
Close to a World Below, Immolation
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Customer Ratings

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