It’s visceral. It’s filthy. You’ll feel like you need a bath after repeated exposures to it. ‘It’ is the new album from Texan death metal veterans Imprecation – and I bloody love it.
Damnatio Ad Bestias brings nothing new to the heavy metal table in 2019. And neither does it need to. Despite this being only their second album, Imprecation have been extant for nigh on thirty years, meaning they were in at the dawn of this kind of music. Theirs is the original power, and the glory, so there’s absolutely no reason for them to go all newfangled on us now. No, we should be grateful that the primal chug, the ear-shredding soloing and the skittish tremolo action are all still present and correct.
Opening track Temple of the Foul Spirit features all three of those crucial ingredients, as they combine to provide a backdrop over which vocalist Dave Herrera literally spills his guts for our listening pleasure. This is death metal in excelsis; the lurching, lumbering, doom-infused battering ram at one moment, the next the careering out of control juggernaut, the two disparate strands somehow held together by the overwheening stench of majesty and power. Imprecation don’t go in for turn-on-a-dime time changes, preferring instead to work themselves up to ramming speed like a drunk in a bar getting himself worked up enough to break a bottle over your head. This modus operandi serves the band well; they are most effective at sub light speeds, when the full stygian nastiness of their sound is able to give fullest vent to it’s febrile whiff, but the regular uptempo jaunts do add a sense of dynamics and urgency that stop some of the potentially more one-paced material from stagnating.
You either love old school death metal or you don’t, and Damnatio Ad Bestias won’t convert you if you find yourself in the second camp. But if you do, you’ll have a fine old time with Imprecation.
Damnatio Ad Bestias is out now.