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Harnessing Ruin
June 2005
Released: 2005, Olympic/Century Media
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Gabriel C. Zolman

Immolation are the missing link between bands like Nile and Incantation. They have never released a truly terrible record, although—like Incantation—they have released many that were less memorable than others. The problem has always been that the band keeps getting better on a technical level, and that doesn’t always mean anything. Look at a band like Cannibal Corpse: as musicians, they’re brilliant. But their records are dreary, lifeless, repetitive endeavors that most kids only listen to for shock value. But this time, the band has come that much closer to fulfilling the promise made by earlier albums: this threatens to be special. Is it? Bits of it are. Bits of it inspire me as to why I first got into Death Metal. There is a hint of menace to it—not the cheesy “Curse God/Fuck the Dead” sort of cliché-mongering you might usually find. Well, perhaps I should specify: being Immolation, there actually is quite a bit of god-cursing going on. But it’s intelligent god-cursing, and that makes it much more threatening—these guys have thought about it long and hard, and the end result is still a thrusted middle finger to the sky.

As a whole, it’s certainly better than the vast majority of what you will hear in the name of Death Metal. There are Black Metal elements, but they are far more restrained than one might find elsewhere. There are some Nile-worthy solos. There is some Incantation-worth creepiness. There is even a sense of majestic dread such as Drawn & Quartered might pull together. Songs like the sinister title cut, and the foreboding “Our Savior Sleeps” are outstanding, and rank as among the best the band has ever crafted. The venomous “Dead To Me” is yet another stand out, and represent the closest thing to melodicism that the group has yet attempted. The pounding rhythms of “Son Of Iniquity” are just plain cruel. This could actually kill insects.

Almost in spite of themselves, and their trademark sinister bravado, Immolation have crafted a standout record in their gruesome pantheon. This will still get spins in this reviewers disc-player long after Review Time’s gone and passed.

Comparable to the newest Incantation and Blood Ritual endeavors, and actually better than the most recent Origin, Lost Soul, and Bloodbath releases, if you just hate Christians so much that you oft times sit yourself, you’ll want to pick this up. Is it the best the band has ever done? Probably not. Is it the best the band can do? Nope. But it’s easily as good—if not better—than most of what you’ll find. It’s a grower, a sleeper, and a keeper—even a winner—in the end.
Track Listing

1. Swarm Of Terror
2. Our Savior Sleeps
3. Challenge The Storm
4. Harnessing Ruin
5. Dead To Me
6. Son Of Iniquity
7. My Own Enemy
8. Crown The Liar
9. At Mourning's Twilight


Ross Dolan - Bass/Vox
Bill Taylor - guitar
Robert Vigna - guitar
Steve Shalaty - drums

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