Impending Doom – “The Sin and Doom Vol. II” (June 22, 2018)
Riverside, California’s Impending Doom return with the most representative record of their career. The title is a nod all the way back to their pre-debut 2005 demo The Sin and Doom of Godless Men, which is an early hint at the all-encompassing nature of this new sound. While sticking closely to the crisp, focused sonic pattern the band has been on since Baptized in Filth (2012), Vol. II manages to summarize the best musical tendencies of the band’s whole discography.
At the same time, the band’s foray into 8-string guitars has separated them from the 2000s wave of drop-C tuned “-core” bands, with songs like “Unbroken” and “Devils Den” out-grooving and out-riffing many so-called “progressive groove metal” bands, while also keeping the blast beats and death metal elements unpolluted. At times, they even embrace some of the grind and slam influences dating back to 2007’s Nailed. Dead. Risen.
Speaking of 2000s Christian metalcore, Impending Doom’s lyrical preachiness on Vol. II is almost shocking in light of the huge departure the bands of yesteryear have made from overtly Christian themes. The initial singles and lyric videos during pre-release saw Brook Reeves already breaking the “preachy” threshold of most bands’ entire careers. But while he’s never been one to sugarcoat anything, the lyrics on track 6, “The Serpents Tongue,” are perhaps the most hilariously edgy words anyone will say in music this year, all while being dead serious: “I am a Christian, a faithful man of God – COME AT ME.”
Between this track and “War Music,” Reeves & co. are making it clear: they have no problem slamming their musical peers and calling to account some of the cringier extreme metal stereotypes that still persist in the underground. The whole album could be considered an elaborate diss record directed at Satan. At times, this approach can read as a little campy, but the musical and vocal delivery leave little room for doubting the band’s sincerity.
Aside from moments of lyrical cheesiness, the album closer “Run For Your Life (She Calls)” is a bit of an anticlimax. The track allows Brandon Trahan to show out a bit on the drums, but the quasi-industrial fadeout feels a bit “phoned in.” At the end of such a brutal tracklist, I wanted to be destroyed, but instead I got what felt like audio hugs in comparison. Still, this album is devastatingly heavy, but also diverse enough to keep every song clearly differentiated from the last. It may in fact be the catchiest and most memorable Impending Doom record yet.
(P.S. Yes, you saw that right, I just gave a Death Metal album a good review on a this website. COME AT ME BRO, this is the “voice of millennials in the Seventh-day Adventist Church” right? Therefore I declare it is Death Metal time and it will not cease to be Death Metal time until I declare that it is no longer Death Metal time. And I’ll never declare that it’s not Death Metal time, so I guess buckle your seatbelt, crank up your entire Heritage Singers collection to full volume, and mosh until you burn off the calories from every piece of veggie meat you’ve ever consumed.)