(DemiGodRaven (ex-The Number of the Blog) delivers this review of the new album by California’s Impending Doom, which is out now on eOne Music.)
As a band and a music fan, Impending Doom and I have a bit of a stormy history (not that we’ve actually fought, they seem like nice people). I’ve been one of many who have spoken out against the group’s too-on-the-nose gimmick of using ‘goreship’ to describe their brand of Christian deathcore. While I’m sure the band have said it somewhat cheekily in response to being pigeonholed, it has stuck with them.
I also reviewed their last disc, There Will Be Violence, back when TNOTB was alive and found the whole experience to be underwhelming. I felt that the mix on the album was a little flat, and a lot of the songs fell on the bland side. There were a few standouts, including the song “Orphans”, but three or four good songs do not a good CD make. Had those songs taken the form of a There Will Be Violence EP, I may have reacted better, but as an album the whole thing became a slog I never really felt any desire to go back to.
However, I do believe in a clean slate of sorts, and so with that in mind I decided to check out Baptized In Filth, if only because I was already buried in religious metalcore listening to Demon Hunter’s latest (more on that later).
Baptized In Filth does some things to rectify what I found wrong with the group’s previous CD. Whereas the last one felt like a slog, this one seems to know its limits and keeps things rather short and to the point. I never felt any real desire to skip anything, and the album was over almost before I could take notice. The songs are also heavier on the low end this time around, making the whole album sound fuller.
One issue continues to plague this band, however, and that is a tendency for the songs to fall on the bland side. The music on this album hits hard, but it still contains a lot that you’ve heard before. Once again, we find ourselves with a handful of good songs and a couple of whiffs. At the very least, I can conclude that Baptized In Filth is Impending Doom’s most inoffensive album so far.
Here is the thing about Impending Doom: They know what they are and they know what they want to do. It seems as if every song is written with that in mind — the music sticks tightly to the Impending Doom way of doing things, including a strict adherence to the band’s religious theme the whole way through (which does present some pretty odd lyrical silliness). The problem is that the Impending Doom way of doing things is the way a lot of bands do things, so that everything they’ve written is passable and solid, but barring the occasional experimentation, you find nothing that really sticks.
I’m a huge fan of referring to albums like this as junk food; I’ve noticed that other people use phrases like “fluff” as well. It’s easily digestible for fans of the genre, and hey, if you’re looking for the last sick-ass breakdown brah, then Impending Doom have that motherfucker in spades. There aren’t many bass blasts to cue you that they’re about to drop, but you still have to be practically drowning in your own drool if you don’t feel them coming from a mile away.
Vocally, Baptized In Filth is a bit more interesting than There Will Be Violence. I approve of the greater focus on high screams this time around. It does help them differentiate themselves somwhat more than usual.
At times with Impending Doom’s music, you have to glance at the lyrics to find out what you’re listening to if you land there on shuffle. But if you really want the prototypical track that represents Baptized, you should check out the song “Murderer”, because man, does that song sum up what you are headed into. Lyrically, it is on the nose as an example of a band who really earn that Christian tag next to their name. They cover some heavy elements of theology in the song, and even inject some breakdowns to accompany the references to Death, Ascension, Resurrection. You even get breakdowns about the Number of the Beast at one point. It will be interesting to see a whole crowd bro-chant “six-six-six the number you’ve chosen” as if it were some sort of anthem.
As for the rest of the instrumentation, though it may somewhat suck to say this, it’s solid, but it builds an all too familiar sound. I’ll leave it at that, rather than spend whole paragraphs saying, “You’ve heard much of this before”.
One song breaks up the album, and that is the ballad “My Light Unseen”. It proves the curious fact that when Impending Doom want to, they can kick out a pretty solid ballad. Funny thing, though: They chose to bring in Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter fame, which makes the song sound like a Demon Hunter ballad. But goddamnit, it’s one of the best Demon Hunter ballads out there, topping what appears on the latest Demon Hunter disc, True Defiance. I can pretty much predict that there will be an Impending Doom/Demon Hunter bill at some point this year, just so they can do this song live. It actually sounds very out of place on the slate of passable metalcore with which the band spends most of Baptized In Filth assaulting you.
Baptized In Filth is a marginal improvement upon There Will Be Violence. Even a marginal step forward can make a noticeable difference for a band like this, who usually stick to their old stylistic reliables. As mentioned, I do think that the album hits harder than the previous one, but that is thanks mostly to a heavier presence on the low end rather than any real change in the songwriting. I never felt the urge to skip anything, and the whole experience has blown by me multiple times. I’ve given “My Light Unseen” a couple more spins on its own, because it’s a solid slow song.
Impending Doom fans will enjoy this. For us elitist metalheads, it’s an okay experience — no reason to flip your shit and rush to the radio to skip the songs, but likewise, no burning need to rush to the music player and put it on either.
I’ve always preferred ‘christchapel’ anyway ~Dgr
True story, I just got asked if I was going to review the new Demon Hunter album.
Standing on a platform, ala Suicide Silence? Reeeeeeally ghey, bro’s
I think it’s one of those things for appearing larger than life. I’m fine with it on stage shows, I think it’s a little goshe to be using it in a music video. Most of the guys I’ve known that use the platform are a tad on the short side and I’m only 5’9 so if they’re smaller than me, you can probably see why they need it.
Well I didn’t hate it, but I’m sure as hell not writing home about it.
My whole review in one sentence. Damn you, ben.
It’s, um, deathcore. So what did you expect? The genre maxes out at “an okay experience,” so you basically have said that this is as good as it gets.
It maxes out at guilty pleasure for me. Whitechapel’s latter material I enjoy quite a bit, and same goes for the stuff All Shall Perish kicks out. It is definitely one of those genres with very rigid guidelines though, and any band who drifts out of it becomes something else rather quickly. You wind up with a lot of samey bands because of that, but the five or six who are good are really enjoyable. I’m too hesitant to write off a whole genre as containing zero good experiences. I mean hell, even the electronics + metalcore movement gave us something fairly decent in The Browning. They’re not perfect but they do hit the mark from time to time.
It cracks me up that these guys (or at least, their drummer) consider themselves one of the four bands that invented deathcore, along with Suicide Silence, Winds Of Plague, and Whitechapel. I’m going to assume they’re not familiar with Suffocation or Despised Icon.
I’ve never bothered listening to Impending Doom, nor do I have any plans to do so in the future. I know exactly what I’m going to get, and it does not at all interest me.
I think it is pretty funny as well, because you probably could add them to a second wave alongside Suicide Slience, Winds Of Plague and Whitechapel. None of those bands were necessarily the progenators of the genre in any sense, because I too would probably lay that honor on bands like Despised Icon, Acacia Strain and As Blood Runs Black. Then again, you could make an argument for All Shall Perish mainstreaming it quite a bit with Hate.Malice.Revenge and likewise, blame Aborted’s Abattoir disc to a lesser extent as well. We had a shit ton of deathcore bands spring up in Sac around 05-06 and every single one of them cited Aborted as an influence. Something about that CD made a lot of bands really start melding death metal and -core together after that.
Dying Fetus anyone? Also, the gospel has never been layered over relentless breakdowns. That we must give them. lolz.
Also a very important note. They didn’t play their leads live. They were recorded and triggered to a pedal from the looks of it. I usually don’t hate but I gotta call them out for that kind of Kid Rock backing tape nonsense.
I love this band. Last couple of records have been pretty decent for me, but it’s never gonna get better than the Serpend Servant(sp?). That’s probably my favorite mix on a heavy record ever… just so fast and mad… and that’s saying a lot for me cuz I am definitely not down w the JC thing…
I liked Serpent Servant, too. Probably still my favorite also.
This isn’t a comment on the new album, which I haven’t heard, but I just wanted to throw into the mix that Impending Doom is another band who prove the point that deathcore is made to be heard live, if it’s to be heard at all. I’ve seen them three times, and every time they killed it. Crushingly heavy and lots of stage presence.
I like it.
I enjoy deathcore for what it is……..Dumb fun. I don’t go into it looking for a modicum of intelligence. You could easily liken deathcore to other hated genres in history such as but not limited to: Exploitation movies, slasher movies, early to mid nineties sugary dance music, etc. I can’t think of anymore off the top of my head. It all boils down to loving or hating it. When I want to sit back and just listen to brutality for brutality’s sake, I turn to deathcore or brutal slam death. It also makes great gym music for getting an additional rep out of your workout. I just take it for what it is. Not what it could be, because there is plenty of other amazing metal out there to be heard instead of mulling over how much better deathcore could be.
“I just take it for what it is. Not what it could be, because there is plenty of other amazing metal out there to be heard instead of mulling over how much better deathcore could be.” Well said. Pretty much sums up my thoughts, too. I’m always going to like deathcore when I’m in certain frames of mind or doing certain things (same with slam), and I’m not sure it’s possible to improve it without turning it into something else . . . that we already have being done by someone else already.
I will add though,…….This album is pretty bad ass. One of the heavier ones I’ve heard in a while.