Artist: Impending Doom
Album: The Sin and Doom, Volume II
Every year, one or two bands from years past make a triumphant resurgence into the forefront of the heavy music scene. Most of the time, it’s to an overwhelmingly good reception—at the very least, out of nostalgia if not by merit. Sometimes, its to a…well, not great reception, but the point remains the same; fans of extreme music can bet the farm on the principle that, at least once per year, an old favorite will become new again.
In 2018, there have been a couple strong examples of this, but I’d argue none stronger than the return of Christian deathcore juggernauts Impending Doom. Since their ground-breaking (and to many, genre-defining) debut record, Impending Doom have garnered a rabid following among the faithful and faithless alike within the deathcore underground—and after a long silence, the band have returned to the spotlight. However, the question remains: will The Sin and Doom Volume II be a triumphant reclaimation of their throne, or will it falter like the efforts of some of their peers?
If you were really asking that, then you’ll be relieved to know that, yes, Impending Doom are back with a ferocious, bloodthirsty vengeance. Fair enough, the band are a very different entity than they were on Nailed. Dead. Risen., they remain just as pissed and powerful as ever, delivering salvo after salvo of deathcore blended excellently between traditional and new, creating a relentless, ruthless experience of a record. The Sin and Doom Volume II sees Impending Doom let loose for well over a half an hour without really ever letting up—this is as true of percussionist Brandon Trahan as it is bassist David Sittig and guitarists Manny Contreras and Eric Correa. Trahan is as immense and unrelenting on the introductory number as he is on “Run For Your Life (She Calls),” both of which seeing his technical side elegantly balanced with bouncy patterns and scalding sequences od speed and fury. Where Trahan is capable of fast, slow and the entire gamut joining the two, Sittig follows him like a high-noon shadow, especially on “Run for Your Life,” which sees the duo bouncing back and forth between a skin-melting breakdown and an eerie, low-end-heavy groove. Meanwhile, “Paved with Bones” and “War Music” are more metallic, straightforward numbers where the duo work as a foundation for Contrera and Correa absolutely crush the listener beneath sharp leads and blunt-force, brutalizing breakdowns both. While the heavily slam-influenced fretwork of their early works is largely left behind, there are still overt death metal and dark tones to balance out the more traditional deathcore atmosphere the duo create. The result is one that appeals to fans of ’08 deathcore just as it does to fans of ’18 deathcore, and it does so tastefully—something that, even In spite of the recent “deathcore revival” is still a rarity.
The Sin and Doom continues Impending Doom’s legacy of intensity in a great multitude of ways, with much of it being their instrumental onslaught—modernized, to a point, though it is—but not the least of which happens to be the vocal effort from frontman Brook Reeves. As in previous entries into Impending Doom’s impressive discography, Reeves’ vocals sound enormous, balancing sheer aggression (the introductory number is an excellent example of this) with scintillating, eerie and more refined tools in his vocal arsenal (“Run for Your Life” especially). Through it all, Reeves infuses his faith into his lyricism—but not in a way that will slake the interests of those with less belief. Reeves uses his message to amplify his own lyrical deliver, such that tracks like “EVIL” hit ten times harder, and “Paved With Bones” do just the same. In short, Reeves remains intense, with a ruthless range, stamina and candor enough to inspire many budding vocalists to redouble their efforts and learn a thing or two. While much of The Sin and Doom sees Reeves’ work at the top of his game, “The Wretched and Godless,” “Unbroken” and “Devil’s Den” are among the finest the release has to offer.
Impending Doom are back. While some might find the modernized take on deathcore a touch stale (especially if they were hoping for Nailed pt. II), the vast majority will see The Sin and Doom for the immense testament of terrifyingly heavy deathcore that it is. With touches of groove and heavily metallic influence to keep it sharp—and more than enough brute-force brutality to keep fists and heads moving—The Sin and Doom is Impending Doom not simply back, but back on top.
For Fans Of: Oceano, Obliterate, In the Midst of Lions, On Solid Ground
By: Connor Welsh