Being a band and releasing a phenomenal album can be a bit of a win-lose situation because it entails having to follow up the previous record with something equally – or even more – amazing than the first. It's a feat that not every band can manage to do; fortunately, for today's band, it was a challenge that stood no chance.
Impending Doom, born and risen in 2005, has accumulated five full-length records and countless headlining and supporting tours all over the world. The band's sound of heavy deathcore infused with Christian morals and lyrical content has made Impending Doom one of the top metal bands in the present scene and one of the most prolific Christian bands to date. The most recent release, Death Will Reign, was released on November 5 and has been one of my most anticipated releases of the year. 2012's Baptized in Filth managed to be my favorite album of the year and racked up a 5/5 from me. The five-piece Riverside, Calif., act has never overly experimented with its sound – and that's one of my favorite qualities about Impending Doom. The members found their niche and they have stuck with it through the years.
Death Will Reign opens almost exactly the same as Baptized in Filth did; there is a few seconds of lead-up introduced with a startling scream and instant pound of instrumentals. I love that no time is wasted and things get going right away. The first few tracks are all composed the same and are so chock full of breakdowns and vocalist Brook Reeves' utter demolishing screams that it seems almost too powerful when accompanied by the flawless production. Will Putney is the mastermind behind the scenes who produced Death Will Reign and countless other releases ranging from Counterparts - The Difference Between Hell and Home, Misery Signals - Absent Light and – his own band's release – Fit for an Autopsy - Hellbound. It is understandable that his mixing and producing abilities are beyond amazing and are a huge factor in why this release was, in fact, so strong. Every breakdown and every note just mixes so well together and sounds so pristine.
I was just over halfway through the album when I realized I had found nothing to complain about thus far. Everything from the composing to the mixing and production to each individual member's contribution is all done so flawlessly, but some standout tracks include "Death Will Reign," "Ravenous Disease" and "Rip, Tear and Burn." By the time we reach track nine, "Endless," it becomes a little ironic because that's what the album feels like at this point: endless. I love Impending Doom and its every release thrust upon us so far, but there's something about this album that starts to lose its appeal and becomes relatively repetitive and lacks creativity as it reaches its end. It just doesn't have the lead-ups or anything that stands out like the first few tracks did, and it really drags on. It's one of those albums that should have been cut a little shorter in terms of track length and maybe the amount of tracks.
Then, of course, as I talk about potentially having shorter songs, Impending Doom ends the album with an eight-minute half instrumental track as plenty of bands normally do. I loved the guitar work during the instrumental only part of the song, but the rest of it was, again, like the last few tracks; it lacked any real creativity or standout notions. The first half of this album was incredible and it was felt throughout the entire release, but it just started to fizzle out a bit near the end. With that being said, nothing about the album – as a whole – was boring or uncreative. I talked about bands trying to surpass or be on par with previous albums and I feel that Impending Doom just fell short of the mark by not keeping that catchy factor that Baptized in Filth had, but in terms of instrumental and vocal projection, it was spot on and just as strong as the best of Baptized in Filth. I'm hoping the next release will harness that catchy factor just a little more than Death Will Reign but keep everything else the same.