Immolation at Metalmania in 2008
|Also known as||Rigor Mortis|
|Origin||Yonkers, New York, United States|
|Genres||Brutal death metal|
|Labels||Roadrunner, Metal Blade, Listenable, Nuclear Blast|
The band formed in May 1986 by Andrew Sakowicz (bass guitar, vocals) and Dave Wilkinson (drums) under the name Rigor Mortis (NY). The name was changed to Immolation in April 1988, after the Warriors of Doom demo which was recorded as Rigor Mortis and Demo I which was recorded as Immolation. The band signed a record deal with Roadrunner Records and released their debut album Dawn of Possession through them. They were dropped when the label controversially dropped nearly all of their death metal bands. Later, they were picked up by Metal Blade Records and released the three succeeding albums through them: Here in After, Failures for Gods, and Close to a World Below. After their second album Here in After, drummer Craig Smilowski left the band and was replaced by Alex Hernandez. Their next three albums, Unholy Cult, Harnessing Ruin, and Shadows in the Light were released by French label Listenable Records, the same label which released an album by Hernandez's previous band Fallen Christ years before.
In May 2001, the band were the headliners for a tour in Europe with supporting bands: Deranged, Deströyer 666, Decapitated and Soul Demise. Unholy Cult saw the departure of guitarist Thomas Wilkinson and the installation of ex-Angelcorpse guitarist Bill Taylor. Steve Shalaty replaced Hernandez on Harnessing Ruin. In February 2008, Immolation toured the US alongside bands such as Rotting Christ, Belphegor and Averse Sefira. During January and February 2010, Immolation toured with headliner Nile along with Krisiun, Rose Funeral, and Dreaming Dead.
Musical style and lyrical themes 
Immolation relies on riffs written in dissonant harmonic patterns, often dueling between the two guitars, to progress songs, typically over complex rhythm and drum patterns. Their riffs are often a mixture of fast tremolo picking and a lot of power chords and pinched harmonics to lay down a wall of sound that many bands have tried to use in their own music. Their guitar parts are often highly complex and technically proficient. Drum parts are often written to follow the guitar riffs in a way that is unusual for most death metal. They and fellow New York death metal band, Incantation, helped bring the New York death metal scene to the attention of the underground. The debut album from them is frequently cited as being one of the first technical death metal albums and is therefore regarded as an important and highly influential album, having laid down the blueprint that bands such as Cryptopsy and Suffocation would follow with their respective debuts.
Guitarist Robert Vigna and vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan have been the only constant members throughout the band's history. Vigna is considered to be one of the most talented death metal guitarists and is well known for his complex riffing and wailing solos.
The band's lyrics from Dawn of Possession to Unholy Cult are largely anti-religion, especially anti-Christianity. On the band's 2005 album, Harnessing Ruin, there are more lyrics touching on other subjects such as politics. This lyrical direction is further explored on the band's 2007 album, Shadows in the Light and the EP Hope and Horror, which preceded the album. On later albums, the lyrics are considerably less explicit.
Studio albums 
- Dawn of Possession (1991)
- Here in After (1996)
- Failures for Gods (1999)
- Close to a World Below (2000)
- Unholy Cult (2002)
- Harnessing Ruin (2005)
- Shadows in the Light (2007)
- Majesty and Decay (2010)
- Kingdom of Conspiracy (2013)
- Bringing Down the World (DVD, 2004)
- Ross Dolan - bass, vocals (1988-present)
- Robert Vigna - guitar (1988-present)
- Bill Taylor - guitar (2001-present)
- Steve Shalaty - drums (2003-present)
Former members 
- John McEntee - guitar (Live-only member. Performed live shows between Thomas leaving the band and Bill joining) (2001)
- Thomas Wilkinson - guitar (1988-2001)
- Neal Boback - drums (1988-1989)
- Craig Smilowski - drums (1991-1996)
- Alex Hernandez - drums (1999-2002)
- Young, Garry-Sharpe. "Immolation Biography". MusicMight. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
- Bowar, Chad (January 3, 2008). "Rotting Christ, Immolation, Belphegor and Averse Sefira Tour Dates". About.com. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
- "Nile announces first metal tour of 2010 with Immolation, Krisiun, Dreaming Dead, and Rose Funeral". Metal Injection. July 15, 2009. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
- "Immolation - Providence EP | Scion Audio Visual". Scion A/V. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- Purcell, Natalie J. (May 5, 2003). Death Metal music: the passion and politics of a subculture. McFarland. pp. 19–21. ISBN 978-0-7864-1585-4. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
- Dick, Chris (August 2007). "#15 Robert Vigna (Immolation)". Decibel Magazine. Retrieved January 25, 2010.[dead link]
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