At first, this album starts off pretty in your face, reminding me immediately of old school Carnifex cross with Aversions Crown. The first song was short and punchy, with a 30 second or so intro before it gets into the groove of things. The riffs are chunky, the playing clean and heavy, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect when putting on an Impending Doom record.
The second track Burn starts off on a dissonant note, which I quite liked. This song has a slightly different vibe, with a lot more emphasis on groove, and somewhat reminds me of Meshuggah in parts. As I listen to this, I can already tell that this album probably offers itself better to the live arena than a sit-down listening. It is energetic and aggressive, and would make a mean mosh pit, but I feel like it’s not the sort of album you sit down and listen to purely to listen to it. The production is polished and professional though they could have strayed more from the norm with the guitar tones.
War Music doesn’t give much a way, the name is neither descriptive or particularly provocative, but I very much liked the intro, there is some great and well played drum work in the beginning, demonstrating the drummer’s skill for writing and not just blasting and hitting skins. The spitfire vocal delivery during the verses and the way the guitar pans in and out before the groovy riff comes back in is really gripping and trying to keep up with the fast pace of this song is an adventure of its own. The guitar playing is tight, but at times can begin to feel sterile, though overall fit the song except for a slightly less than smooth transition from the first half of the song to the second half. This is a good track but could have benefited from a more cohesive arrangement, because the last half of the song is awesome, but I feel like the disjointed nature of the song lets it down a little. I also felt like the breakdown was a little cliché in the way they chose to pan the guitars L-R during the chugs, a production technique many bands have used to death.
Evil comes in next and I found myself thinking: finally, an interesting song. Around here, I’m starting to see what this band are about, and the song writing is a lot more cohesive here. This song sounds very purposeful and well thought out. In some ways, this is different to the previous songs in the sense it feels almost like a crust punk Slipknot. Now, I’m no breakdown hater. I love a well-placed breakdown, but that’s the thing – the breakdown here, kind of just threw the whole song under the bus. They were onto something awesome and then the breakdown comes in and it seems to cheapen the listening experience. Before, it was a killer unique track, almost a really sick throwback to early 00’s nu/groove metal and crust but with it’s own edge, and the placement of the breakdown in a way, makes it feel like just another deathcore song. I did really like the chanted part though, a very nice addition. Overall, I’m liking this track more than the first few, and go into Paved With Bones with more optimism than I had before chucking on Evil.
Paved With Bones is the 5th track on the album, and I’m noticing that the album doesn’t seem to really flow with any consistent theme, though this song itself has good flow. It seems to be constructed from the usual overused death core tropes and tried and tested mid-00’s nu metal writing techniques, with the occasional breakthrough riff that hooks you in. This song sounds more like Lamb of God with some more open notes thrown in for good measure, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but again, the originality of this album hasn’t truly shown through yet. The subdued mix of the lead guitar is quite well done, and the overall production is on par with industry standard for this style of music.
The Serpent’s Tongue is the sixth track in and I find myself focusing on the vocals. The vocalist is competent for the style, but offers nothing new, with the expected “bleurgh” here and there throughout the album and in some ways, reminiscent of the mixing techniques used on earlier Behemoth records but do seem to sound a bit flat at times and maybe over-layered. At this point I’m not floored by the song-writing, but this is still a solid record. Unbroken has some neat vocal patterns which take the lead over double kicks in between sections of dissonant lead guitars and heat chugged riffs.
All in all, it’d be good music for having in the background while you sink beers, play shooters online, or hit the gym, but when sitting down to listen to it and picking it apart, it does leave something to be desired. This is by no means a bad album, but musically, it’s playing it safe and sticking within the confines of its genre, which some bands do choose to do, and in this case, Impending Doom are doing what they set out to do well. This album is one that grows on you the more you listen to it, and is solid listening if you just want something balls-to-the-wall heavy.
GET YOUR HANDS ON A COPY RIGHT HERE!