Impending Doom presented us with their fourth studio album this week, entitled Baptized In Filth. This follows 2010's There Will Be Violence, which in my opinion was pretty great, so my expectations for this album were pretty high to say the least. But were they met?
Yes. Yes they were. As pretty much any fan of the band knows, these guys changed their sound on the second album abandoning straight up death metal in favor of Deathcore, a move which many still ridicule them for, but regardless they still manage to make some crushing albums, and this album is no different. In fact this is easily their heaviest album to date. It has a darker atmosphere than their previous work, and almost seems more inspired by Whitechapel and Despised Icon, both of which are great deathcore bands to take influence from.
The vocals have changed a tad bit from their previous stuff. Brook Reeves has been evolving his voice over time, but the most notable change is in the wider use of higher vocals. He's pretty much set in stone his lower growl style, which is great, but on this album there's a bit more focus on using higher screams to accent things. It's different at first, but it works very well in my opinion. There also is layering similar to what Phil Bozeman likes to do. Some people ridicule layering but it doesn't bother me at all. On another note we can talk about Reeve's lyrics, they are christian, but it's not really all bright and happy. The lyrics are great in that they are critical of false Christians, which is something Reeve's dealt with on many occasion and it often provides themes for the album. The imagery evoked is also great, Reeve's lyrics have both a face value and metaphorical quality that I enjoy a lot.
The guitars on this album are on about the same level as their previous album, although Impending Doom has never been about being the most technical band ever, they make music that is interesting but honest. While some ridicule Impending Doom for being a bit cookie cutter, I think they have a pretty unique guitar tone. Their riffs have a pretty distinct sound. I will say that this album has a really great atmosphere that was pushed by the inclusion of great dissonant guitar parts in the back of many of the tracks. There is also a first for these guys on this album. A clean vocal powered and more melodic metalcore sounding song towards the end featuring Ryan Clark entitled 'My Light Unseen'. The guitar work is slower at first but has a driving riff that works well to drive the emotion of the song. It's different but good.
The drums are at their best on this album. They are tight, very well produced and do a whole light to add energy and backbone to the whole album. Probably the best example of them is either the first or the final tack ('Murderer' and 'Death. Ascension. Resurrection.' respectively). They are strong and fast while not drowning out everything else. It might also be that those two tracks are easily my favorite from the album, but they are both examples of their drummer in his prime.
Overall this is a fantastic album, I've been spinning it all week and plan to keep doing so for a while. I'd say it's better than There Will Be Violence, which I loved, but I'm going to give it time still before saying anything like that. It is far from a disappointment though. Any fan of their previous two albums will enjoy this one. They are definitely refining their sound more and more with each album.