By Dr. Abner Mality

“Atonement” is so dark that I almost needed a tactical flashlight to finish listening to it. Immolation has always been expert at inserting a feeling of darkness and doom into their music and “Atonement” may be the best example of this yet. This is grim, oppressive death metal that offers not even the briefest ray of sunshine to penetrate its sepulchral gloom.

These guys are excellent songwriters. They come up with songs that are compact and simple on the surface but manifesting a lot of hidden depths on closer listening. They are not out to “crush your skull” per se or to break any land speed records. But the riffs are heavy and bleak without venturing into doom metal. “Thrown Into Fire” and “Lower” are the darkest of the dark and capable of causing shudders. “Destructive Currents” and “The Power of Gods” are fast and wrenching but maintain the hopeless feeling. Even the guitar solos and drum fills contribute to that feeling. And of course, hovering over all like the Angel of Death on the cover are the grinding, grim vocals of Ross Dolan, who is surely one of the very best in this business.

Suffice to say, “Atonement” is another highly recommended effort from America’s masters of dark death metal, Immolation.