Californian self-proclaimed ‘gorship’ band Impending Doom are back with their first studio outing in five years, ‘The Sin And Doom, Vol. II’.
Musically, this is solid enough. Some slightly spooky soundscapes in ‘The Wretched And Godless’ help make for a mosh-worthy opening salvo. ‘War Music’ has a very good build-up before the main riff comes crashing in. The chugging, riffing, and drumming are executed in an almost mechanical manner, and there’s plenty of bounce here too.
The words ‘Christian deathcore’ might send shivers down the spine of some in the metal community, but you can’t fault their commitment to the cause. With lyrics like “Sometimes I wouldn’t blame God if he lit the world on fire”, you know that Impending Doom are pissed off with the world at large. The cry of “I won’t stand for this” in ‘Evil’ has palpable anger too.
But, as much as taking a shot at their lyrical narrative is picking at low-hanging fruit, you can’t help but notice that the lyric “Satan hates you, because you’re made in the image of God’s only son” in ‘The Serpent’s Tongue’ is obscurantism and fear-mongering in one line.
Groups like The Fever 333 and Svalbard deserve praise for being so unwavering in their beliefs, but listening to this album feels like you’re being lectured by somebody who feels they know better than you. No, thanks.
The discussion about whether or not evangelical Christianity is the answer to all of the world’s problems is an entirely different subject. If you find enjoyment and/or comfort in this, then power to you.
Still, the long and short of it is, whilst Thy Art Is Murder and The Black Dahlia Murder can make progressive, captivating, and expansive extreme metal records like their respective 2017 releases, Impending Doom show barely any signs of straying away from the deathcore formula.
Many fill-in-the-blank-core tropes are audible. Close your eyes and you might actually see them all appear before you. Hardcore dancing. Ear gauges. Impericon. And everything else.
If you’re already a fan of Impending Doom, then you won’t be disappointed. Their brand of groove based deathcore is perfectly functional. There’s no doubting their passion, and ‘The Sin And Doom, Vol. II’ is certainly heavy and straight to the point. But, when heavy music at large is going in challenging and exciting directions in 2018, it’s hard not to feel like this is a little behind.