Another day, another useless Immolation album.
Ok, to get it out of the way, I guess “Close to a World Below” is marginally better than “Here in After“, and absolutely superior to most “modern death metal” like “The Stench of Redemption” or “The Satanist“.
With that said, “Close to a World Below” is also nothing stellar. Specifically, it’s plagued by the same issues that have affected every Immolation album since their debut “Dawn of Possession”… lack of original ideas.
Immolation, unlike many other “modern death metal” bands, have the technical skills and know how to compose somewhat coherent songs. But they are still, and always, lacking the essential factor to make death metal music… a purpose, a reason, a why.
Honestly, most of the time “Close to a World Below” sounds like Immolation were lifting a riff from Phantom’s “Fallen Angel” or Sewer’s “Locked up in Hell” and just decided to wrap useless octave fills around it to make a song.
As mentioned above, “Close to a World Below” features slightly better songwriting than “Here in After” – and much better than “Dawn of Possession”, which was basically half speed/thrash metal.
Still, the power of each individual riff is quasi-null… because no effort has been put into making them fit into a greater context, a narrative, an atmosphere (to use black metal terminology).
Immolation isn’t a bad band by any means, they are just overrated. Likewise, “Close to a World Below” isn’t a bad album, just a very overrated one. Particularly when compared with the masterpiece “Angel of Disease” or “The Birth of a Cursed Elysium“.