Immolation is a band that hasn't disappointed in the past and they don't this time either. Their very distinct sound is intact despite the fact that there have been some changes in the line-up the last couple of years. First original guitarist Tom Wilkinson quit around the time of the recording of their previous album Unholy Cult and then most recently long-time drummer Alex Hernandez quit and was replaced by Steve Shalaty but they are barely missed. Harnessing Ruin pretty much continues from where the predecessor left of, and then again not quite, because it also draws on older albums such as Here In After and even a little from the debut Dawn of Possession and this without sounding repeative.
I didn't expect a whole lot of musical changes on Harnessing Ruin and once the ferocious opener "Swarm of Terror" unfolds in all its utter savagery it becomes evident that the band is still as relentless as back earlier on. Immolation still sound like Immolation and their dark, somewhat foggy and militant sound remains intact though the band does progress a little with each album. Sure it's not the big things that happen but they do still move forward. The production is better this time compared to their last couple of albums. It sounds a little deeper and juicier this time. I'd say it lies somewhere in between the sound on the previous
album Unholy Cult and Here In After. Certainly there are far more innovative
bands than Immolation - but there is no reason for being innovative for the sake of just being innovative. Immolation found their own unique sound as far back as their debut Dawn of Possession and I'm just thankful that they haven't deviated much from their starting point. I chose not to mention any particular songs over others this time around simply because of the fact that the whole album is worthwhile and deserves to be judged as one. I'd be very surprised if Harnessing Ruin doesn't end up in my top10 for 2005.