Sound — 8
Immersed In Darkness, the Black/Death metal duo from Brownsville, TX has just released their second free album "Seas Of Deception", following their debut "Sweet Nightmares, My Beautiful Whore". Having had the privilege of opening for Goatwhore in 2011, Immersed In Darkness have followed their debut with a very solid record. 1. "Black Ritual (Intro)": An immaculate symphonic piece, along the likes of Tristania and Dimmu Borgir, Black Ritual starts the album with a very dark, and ambient atmosphere while maintaining the beauty and composition skills that many have come to expect from the Black/Death metal scene, and makes for an awesome introduction into the heavy thrash sound of "Lust For Destruction". 2. "Lust For Destruction": Featuring some awesome double bass work from drummer Ruben, the song starts out with a headbanging speed picked riff, and slams into a half time pulse pounding chorus of dark progression. Similar to that of bands like Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle Of Filth, they keep the composition interesting and catchy, all the while sticking to their sound. 3. "My Fallen Bride": While I love the song, the intro is very typical of the "Death Metal" genre. Blast beats, and the intense growl of Robert Ibarra, lead the way for an unexpected riff at:38 of which leads into an evil chorus, filled with some very awesome drumming and ride bell work from Ruben, coming to an abrupt end at a mere 2:42. 4. "Flesh Grinder": Leading off with a crunchy spine-breaking riff, "Flesh Grinder" commands a mid tempo beat, and dissonance. Possibly my least favorite on the album, as it is very repetitive and doesn't quite transition and vary as well as other songs on the album. 5. "Demise Of The Empire": Blowing right into the verse, "Demise Of The Empire" picks up the tempo and keeps it. With some great drum work around 1:20, and a very dark growl, Immersed In Darkness transitions themselves back into the intro/outro. 6. "Slut Eternal": Reminding me of "The Fallen Arises" from Dimmu Borgir, "Slut Eternal" will suck you into it with a very beautiful, and dark symphony surrounded by evil undertones and ancient harmonies, one of my favorite tracks from the album. The composition is stunning. 7. "Arch Angel": A melodic and heavy riff leads the song into overdrive, delving into the likes of Morbid Angel and Skeletonwitch towards the middle. My second favorite track of the album following "Lust For Destruction" with both melody, speed, and a great composition. 8. "The Forest Of The Dead": The intro to this, very much fits with the song title. Mid tempo, and filled with dark chord progressions "The Forest Of The Dead" makes an atmosphere all its' own. Switching it up mid song, the songs picks up pace after transitioning through the tom-led bridge. 9. "The Black Sacrament": With a very similar intro riff to another song you'll hear on the album, "The Black Sacrament" soon transitions into a more original verse, and song. Ruben's drumming does alot for the overall effect, and has done alot to make the song what it is using some of his signature hi-hat work mid song. Ending with a resonating growl, "The Black Sacrament" is one that may take awhile to grow on people, but holds its' own on the album. 10. "Cryptic Gates": Another of my favorites from the album, "Cryptic Gates" does an excellent job of pulling you in. With a compelling intro, and some well-placed drumming it contains some awesome riffing around 1:18 very reminiscent of Slayer, and Cradle Of Filth. 3:09 greets you with "Come down to the Cryptic Gates, your hell awaits", and transitions into a very evil progression to end the song. A close tie for first with "Lust For Destruction". 11. "Seas Of Deception (Outro)": Another well composed symphonic piece to finish the intro, and end the album. Seas of Deception contains a perfect mix of dark melodies, and beautiful instrumentation creating (In my mind) the feeling of being stuck in a storm, and stranded in the ocean, awaiting a very slow, and icy death. Now for the sound; The recordings are very raw, and "live". It feels very much like you're seeing them live or watching them in a rehearsal space, during their non-symphonic songs, which is my least favorite part of the album. The compositions however, are all quite immaculate, in particular the three symphonic pieces. My favorites being "Lust For Destruction", "Arch Angel", and "Cryptic Gates". A well put together album, with a nice flow to it, and overall an 8/10. A better studio quality recording of the album would make this one hell of a solid album.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics as a whole cover a variety of different topics. Witchcraft, darkness, damnation, ancient mythology, and even whores living in their own personal hell make for sets of dark lyrics that surround their songs. These topics in particular make for an evil sound, and lyrics that many of us can use to imagine a darker age in the world, and almost view as a whole story. Even the symphonic pieces without lyrics, make stories of their own with unique and beautiful instrumentation which will delve the listener into an atmosphere surrounding their titles. As a vocalist, Robert Ibarra definitely has the growls down, though some differentiation in pitches, would add a ton to the songs. Having progressed from their first album, I look forward to hearing what he can bring to the table next.
Overall Impression — 8
As a whole, the album is very solid. It maintains energy, and a great flow throughout. Highlights of the album would be both the intro and outro "Black Ritual", and "Seas Of Deception" which do an awesome job of bringing the listener in, and leaving them with an ambient darkness to follow them throughout the day. Songs like the fast paced "Lust For Destruction", and "Arch Enemy" make for some great headbanging, while others such as "The Forest Of The Dead" and "Cryptic Gates" create unique atmospheres that delve into the titles they've received. My least favorite part, as said, is the recording quality. It differs from song to song, and while it is very clean and crisp in the symphonic pieces, it is very raw in the others. This however, is all understandable, because most of us just don't have money to pay a producer to do things for us (especially in a two-piece band). In the genre, with better recording quality, this album could very easily fit in amongst albums like "In Sorte Diaboli" from Dimmu Borgir, and "The Exodus Of Autonomy" from Wretched. Best of all however, is the fact the album is completely free, so you can decide for yourselves. The band has made the album available at immersedindarkness.bandcamp.com and I am definitely looking forward to their next album. In the mean time, sit back and enjoy "Seas Of Deception".