Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: Immolation — Acts of God (2022) ALBUM REVIEW

Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! I am The Saw. And welcome the brand-new Immolation album, Acts of God (Nuclear Blast), dropping in on February 18, 2022. The new release is Immolation’s 11th studio record and, while it is consistent with the band’s three-decade career, the production and sound are their best ever (IMO). The Saw has already introduced the unsuspecting person to Immolation, and we’ve discussed the two singles – “Apostle” and “The Age of No Light” – so let’s move right into the new full-length LP.

Acts of God is quite an experience both, for the experienced and the inexperienced fan of Immolation. It is a constant and sustained beating, for the usual reasons, but also for unusual reasons as well. I have listened through the new record several times just trying to grasp everything that is going on! Immolation are O.G. Death Metal masters, and the key to that success is the individual mastery of the four members. This album begins with the mixing, layering, and sound quality, which beautifully showcases (in subtle ways) the individuals of Immolation. Once these are brought together into the collective, Immolation and Acts of God beat you to a pulp with a technical, expertly crafted, and intentional psychological take-down.

Acts of God is nothing less than a guided tour through a labyrinth of darkness – “pitch black” visually, aggressive and horrifying audibly! I love it! First, the new album has 15 tracks, clocking just over 52 minutes long. There is no relent, no mercy, and no forgiveness. The beatings keep coming and, at times, seem never ending. Secondly, you cannot attempt to ease the pain by trying to anticipate the blows, because of the trademark time and tempo changes. 

It’s interesting because Shalaty (drums) pummels the listener with blast beats and fierce double base, regardless of the tempo of the track, on one hand, while seamlessly flowing with the stringed instruments (or vocals) at any given time, in an atmospheric sense; all the while, soaring around the top-half of the kit. Vigna (lead guitars) and Bouks (rhythm guitars) are incredible, with their own trademarked style – killer heavy riffs layered and alternating with fast tremolo picking, and all their stop-and-go tricks and breakneck tempo changes. And Dolan (bass, vocals) is, at times, like a third guitarist with his skill of style on bass. Spiraling and (seemingly) chaotic, yet seamless and exact in every sense. His vocals are the only constant (aside from the severe beating) – Dolan has one of the most distinct gutterals in all of Death Metal. His vocal style is, yet, another instrument; not simply for communicating a commentary of horror and destruction, but even more-so it provides a pounding to the ear-holes like no other. When you layer Dolan’s gutteral onslaught over everything he’s doing on bass, along with what the other individual members are doing (in every track!), you slowly begin to sense the weight of darkness that is swallowing you. 

Acts of God takes the listener down the path of total darkness. It is nothing less than a bleak horror narrative with a terrifying soundtrack; sometimes marching onward, usually tumbling forward, and (interestingly) it often seems as if it is simply swinging back and forth / side-to-side, as if hanging from a noose. A “Noose of Thorns.” 

Immolation have also released a new video for “Blooded.” And they are bringing the darkness to a city near year this year! Believe me, take the trip. The experience of Acts of God and Immolation live are unforgettable. 

Rating: 10/10!! A distinct Death Metal masterpiece! 

Favorite Songs: An Act of God; The Age of No Light; Noose of Thorns; Let the Darkness In

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