The earnest introductory prayer on Impending Doom’s gritty 2007 debut Nailed.Dead.Risen is called “Left Behind,” the title cribbing that of author Tim LaHaye’s doomsday drama-turned-film. Yet the now-prolific Christian deathcore band’s introductory invocation harbored none of that gaudy franchise’s heavy-handedness in delivering its dispensationalism. The spooky sounds and whispers surrounding the album’s start made you really feel like you were in the eleventh hour at the Garden of Gethsemane, not the abandoned entertainment section of a 24-hour Walmart.
The outfit’s ominous album from over a decade ago was followed by 35 minutes of brutal, uncompromising, and oppressive guitar riffs, explosive rhythms, and guttural groans that sounded like they welled up from the depths of the Grand Canyon, the likes of which combined to form a clutch piece in the puzzle of a rapidly-growing music scene during a watershed time for the band’s then-label, Facedown Records – itself on an upward trajectory with incendiary Xtian bands such as Sleeping Giant and xDEATHSTARx, among others – and spirit-filled heavy music, in general.
How times have changed
Over ten years later, Impending Doom has now released its sixth studio effort, The Sin and Doom, Vol. II, this past summer. The band’s third full-length for eOne Music (after parting ways with Facedown following
It sort of works, both sonically and thematically. The deathcore-as-robot-rock template of “War Music” yields a synthetic shock out of the band’s organic elements, the urgent march flexing a mechanical side that’s undoubtedly Doom but considers more modern metalcore tastes in its liquid-steel construction. “The Serpents Tongue” clears the brush from the veterans’ favored narrow path of metal mayhem and reignites the tent revival with a fortified audio assault that you can still imagine making an old-time preacher blush.
This is “gorship,” after all, a portmanteau the band once coined to describe the God-fearing lifestyle represented (or, to some, belied) in their “horrific sounding” (“gore”) music. And, really, no one would begrudge vocalist Brook Reeves from the zealous provocation he drops in the latter song: “I am a Christian, a faithful man of God,” he fervently growls as the rhythm breathes in “The Serpents Tongue,” just before goading the listener with the frat-like challenge, “Come at me.” There is no doubt devotion, but the delivery bristles. Even after repeated listens.
The final song on the record, “Run For Your Life (She Calls),” shows the group stretching out with the most progressive and slow-burning jam of the lot. And while the tune’s lyrical scope still has indoctrinated discipline on the mind (it’s a warning against temptation), the mountainous soundscape offered here possibly points a new way forward for Impending Doom. (Perhaps Vol. II references their earliest work to conclude this chapter of the band’s career.)
Regardless, the new album surely won’t disappoint fans of the band’s catalog, even though it doesn’t quite illustrate a deliberate personal relationship with Jesus as Nailed.Dead.Risen and that intimately uttered intro. “Come back for us, Lord,” it begged. “I wanna see you.”