History & BiographyYonkers, New York's Immolation was formed by Andrew Sakowicz and Dave Wilkinson in 1986 as Defcon and then Rigor Mortis. The band became more and more heavy and issued demos like Rehearsal 1986, Decomposed in 1987, Warriors of Doom in 1988, Demo I in 1988 and Demo II in 1989. The latter two were issued under the new monicker, Immolation. The band was influenced by Slayer, Morbid Angel and other underground acts and was strictly anti-religion from the start.
With the death metal trend in full swing, the American office of Roadrunner signed the band to its Roadracer imprint and issued the band's first full-length in 1991. Smilowski was recruited six weeks before the recording (original drummer Neal Boback had left) and would last a short time before departing. The band would venture outside the USA and into Canada in support of the album. A string of shows arranged by Necrosis/Cryptopsy would lead to prolonged bad blood between the bands. Roadrunner would soon drop the band - apparently sales were below 30,000 units - and the band would fill time by allowing Spain's Repulse Records to issue its demos on disc. Stepping On Angels... Before Dawn also featured a couple of live songs. The band's new promotional demo would showcase a more complex sound that would not find favour with many labels. Chris Forbes of Metal-core Distribution now managed Immolation.
Old friend and colleague Jon McEntee of Incantation would take the place of founding member Robert Vigna in 2000. The band had toured Mexico in 1995 with Incantation and Acid Bath. Wilkinson would leave towards the end of the same year as well. Immolation was forced to cancel appearances in the Benelux and Wacken due to immigration restrictions on its drummer to travel in 2000. The band's album Close To A World Below was now due at the end of November.
The band had signed with Metal Blade in mid-1995. After releasing several albums for Metal Blade and touring with label-mates Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under, the quintet would be dropped again in late 2001 and would find a home base in France's Listenable Records. Olympic Recordings would licence the albums in America. A video was also issued in 2004. The band was booked at the Maryland Death Fest in mid-2005 where it headlined over General Surgery, Birdflesh and Regurgitate. Prior to the release of its new album Shadows In The Light, the band would issue an EP called Hope And Horror through Listenable Records. The band signed a worldwide contract with Nuclear Blast Records in 2009 following its work with the likes of Listenable and Roadrunner Records. The band's next album was due to be released in early 2010. Immolation picked Majesty And Decay as the title for its eighth full-length album. Majesty And Decay was released on March 9th in North America through Nuclear Blast Records. The band was touring with Nile in January and February. Immolation and Krisiun joined for a four-week European Sounds Of Extreme Tour 2011 in November. In the meantime, the band announced a second headlining trek in support of its Majesty And Decay album. Support on the October tour would come from Jungle Rot and Gigan. Immolation had a new EP to end 2011. Scion A/V Presents: Immolation Providence EP was available as a free download at www.scionav.com. The EP was also available for free in CD and vinyl formats at concerts during the Immolation North American tour 2011 and at Scion partner retail locations. In July of 2012, Incantation and Immolation were playing a series of shows in Brazil featuring local openers. The band opened for Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death in 2013. Death metal band Immolation, white supremacist rock act MOD, grinders Agathocles, Soothsayer and others were part of the line-up for Obscene Extreme America 2015 that August in Montreal, Canada. The festival began in the Czech Republic in 1999. Obscene Extreme America has connected its charity efforts in support of Doctors Without Borders with Immolation and would offer festival attendees a chance to purchase one of 66 limited festival T-shirts designed by the band at a cost of $20 CAD. The band released a new album, called Atonement, on February 24th 2017 through Nuclear Blast. It featured the band's older logo on the cover again. Its recording was delayed as drummer Steve's ankle had broken in three places requiring healing. Alex Bouks, an old friend of the band who had toured with them in support of Dawn Of Possession, was now on guitar. Immolation released a new album, entitled Acts Of God, through Nuclear Blast on 18.02.2022. The band had pre-issued a song called Apostle. Carcass, Immolation and Creeping Death were touring the USA in the spring of 2022. Cannibal Corpse, Dark Funeral, Immolation and Black Anvil announced a tour of Canada and the USA that November and December. Obituary, Immolation, Blood Incantation and Ingrown were to tour the USA in April 2023. The group embarked on the Terrasitic Infestation North American tour with headliners Cattle Decapitation, as well as Sanguisugabogg and Castrator in November and December 2023.
IMMOLATION - UNHOLY CULT - OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA
Odd signatures, chaotic melodies, disharmonic riffs and complex arrangements all whirling in a maelstrom of death and destruction...that is Immolation. The wind whistles through the leaves again and the time has come for another sacrificial offering from Immolation. Staying true to themselves and death metal, Unholy Cult will meet expectations of the fans. The Americans deliver a mostly mid-paced album which adheres to the mantra that if it is not broken then no fixing is required. The vocals are uncannily reminiscent of one David Vincent circa Domination. Further proof of Immolation's consistency comes courtesy of the album's cover art which remains one of the best in the entire scene. Fans would do well to look for an LP version of Unholy Cult. All in all the pure malignancy to produce true death metal is still with Immolation and so Unholy Cult gets two devil's horns up from the Metallian - Ali "The Metallian"
IMMOLATION - HARNESSING RUIN - OLYMPIC
Harnessing Ruin has surpassed my expectations and turned out to be an album full of favourable superlatives. Not that an Immolation album is frequently cause for disappointment or derision, but the new album of New York's veteran deliverers of death and doom has really gone all-out in branding the bands as true and loyal subjects of death metal. The band's renowned technicality is here in all its complex glory, yet the quartet has riffs that lure and fascinate and often drift into Incantation territory. The music is dark, the vocals convincing, the riffs tough to imagine, the guitar notes broken in half, twisted, exploding, detonating and the drums just fascinating. Actually, the drum work on a song like Crown The Liar is even better than what was on the band's 1991 debut. The album's best songs Dead To Me and Son Of Iniquity drift in mid-air like a magical battering ram and surpass anything most bands would even imagine, let alone be able to compose and execute. Immolation has never been about easy listening and Harnessing Ruin will not change that. Yet, if massively disharmonic and disproportional death metal is anything to be drawn to then the fans have just found rapture. - Ali "The Metallian"
IMMOLATION - SHADOWS IN THE LIGHT - CENTURY MEDIA
It pains me to write it but Shadows in The Light is a disappointing outing for New York’s death metal mainstay, Immolation. The band has always achieved a thicker and more fascinating technical death metal sound than its average peer, and has had an enthusiast in this writer from day one when most would simply slag the group, but the current album is the quartet going through the motions riff by riff, note by note and song by song. Ross Dolan’s voice is what one would expect, the riffs exactly as they have been and the drumming of Steve Shalaty non-linear and technical. What is missing sadly is enthusiasm, speed or the layer of excitement. It is left to the album’s closing cut Whispering Death to hint at a different tone and tempo. It is a great song, as are the other cuts on their own individually and in isolation, but not enough to rescue the album.
Ross, Robert, Bill and Steve must take into account animation, thrill and enthusiasm next time. The world does not need another band moving in parallel to Morbid Angel caught in a rut despite all the talent in the world. - Ali “The Metallian”