Impending Doom is one of the defining metal bands of this generation.
Conjured, cobbled together and consecrated from the same dirty and fertile Inland Empire earth that has spawned much of the so-called “deathcore” movement, Impending Doom has actualized the brand new sub-genre dubbed “Gorship” from a synthesis of savage death metal, intense atmosphere and subversive melody hatched from a formula melding the aggressive angst of Slipknot, the modern metal brutality of Lamb Of God, the stop-start riffage of Fear Factory and the trailblazing experimentation of the Deftones.
The Riverside, California quartet stand mightily alongside their peers in bands like Whitechapel, Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish with Baptized in Filth, the group’s fourth full-length and first effort for rock and metal powerhouse label eOne Music. Produced by Andreas Magnusson (Black Dahlia Murder) and mixed by Machine (Lamb of God), Baptized in Filth represents the complete realization of the fiercely creative and wholly organic development of the multifaceted sound Impending Doom began with their earliest demo rumblings. The brutal bellow of Nailed. Dead. Risen. (2007), the more polished explosiveness of The Serpent Servant (2009) and the utter bombastic fury of There will be Violence (2010) have coalesced into the definitive mission statement for the powerful quartet.
“This record is a lot darker. It’s scary and eerie sounding,” notes vocalist and co-founding member Brook Reeves. “What we’ve wanted to capture with most of our stuff – from our sound to our appearance, artwork and stage presentation – is an overall tone [drawing from] the darker side of music. There’s some experimentation and newer elements that we’ve introduced on this album as well.”
The band began with the straightforward intention to create a guttural death metal sound that could serve as a vehicle for the presentation of their philosophical vision and artistic expression. As Impending Doom developed, they found themselves at the forefront of an emerging subset of bands pioneering an exciting blend of disparate elements from across the spectrum of heaviness. Blending death metal, thrash metal, grindcore and just a dash of the most devastating hardcore, Impending Doom singularly contributed the advent of “Gorship” while towing the line of the broader appeal of similarly minded metal groups like As I Lay Dying. The band has pulverized stages on Vans Warped Tour, Metal Alliance and on tour with diverse groups like Whitechapel, Unearth, Chimaira and Norma Jean.
There’s a spiritual element to Impending Doom, to be sure, but their music is of the caliber to appeal to anyone who loves extreme sounds regardless of their worldview or frame of reference. “I like heavy music,” Brook says matter-of-factly. “Whether it’s ‘deathcore’, ‘heavy metal’ or ‘thrash’ or whatever you want to call it, I like it. Whatever people want to call Impending Doom, that’s fine with me.”
From a theological standpoint, the Christian faith maintains that when one becomes baptized in the spirit, they rise a new person. Taking a look at the darker underbelly of the spiritual warfare raging amongst mankind, Impending Doom has turned their attention toward those who vehemently hate the idea of the divine. “This record has a lot to do with people who legitimately hate God and they’re proud to say it. Not just that they don’t believe in God, but they hate God, which doesn’t make sense to me,” Reeves explains.
“Baptized in Filth represents the mindless indulgence and self-worship in the vile world we live in,” adds bassist David Sittig, laying down a common Impending Doom twist of phrase with some literal connotations: “This album is meant to scare the hell out of you!”
Reeves continues to elaborate further: “To be Baptized in Filth means to just dwell in the unhappiness of sin. Before I came to Christ that’s where I sat. I loved being a sinner. I loved doing that. I still sin, of course. I stand next to that puddle of filth, so to speak. I dip my foot in it and I’m like, ‘I don’t like that any more.’ I was there, I don’t want to be there, but there are some people who love to dwell there.”
On the fourth Impending Doom album, longtime guitarist Cory Johnson contributes his most exciting, unique and proficient work to date. An accomplished player and former member of Sleeping Giant, Johnson has been with Impending Doom for two-thirds of the band’s career. Determinedly brutal yet dynamic vocalist Reeves, who credits Machine with much of the power of his most recent recorded performance, is a co-founding member and dexterous bass player Sittig joined not long after. Drummer Brandon “B-Town” Trahan (formerly of xDeathstarx) is an athletic and imposing presence both onstage and off, augmenting Impending Doom’s force.
The uber-aggressive “For the Wicked” burns with anger toward the spiritual corruption this world is facing and how it’s only getting worse. The stubbornly driving “Deceiver” is interlaced with darker undertones and eerie sounding backing tracks. “Murderer” is flat out heavy. The dark anthem “My Light Unseen” includes melodic guest vocals courtesy of Demon Hunter co-founder and frontman Ryan Clark.
Impending Doom recognizes that there are a variety of points of view to be had within the realm of heavy metal. They are defenders of free speech and of the right for different bands to express whatever they have to say in whatever format they choose to do artistically. Baptized in Filth represents their own distinct viewpoint. ”Baptized in Filth is really a darker approach: ‘You want to blame God instead of getting to know God? You want to sit there in your filth and try to blame God for something? OK let me tell you about it.’ That’s what this record is about. There are all of these records about people hating God. I know plenty of the bands that sing about that,” Brook says. The new Impending Doom album is a conversational response. “Baptized in Filth? This is where it’ll get you.”
Impending Doom deals in certain absolutes with their sound and vision and the heady contemplation of the bigger questions of meaning, purpose and eventual absolution pondered by the greatest art and music across the ages. Fittingly, they are a metal band with a specific focus on the legacy their recorded work, touring and visual presentation will leave behind on those who encounter them. “There will be an end to this band just like there’s going to be an end to my life,” Reeves says with sobering clarity.
“I hope that people who get to meet us see genuine people who never fell through and never watered it down,” he adds. ”I just pray that we leave something behind for kids when they grow up. I hope that people think that Impending Doom planted a seed for them. I don’t want to go down as being just another really heavy band. At the end of our time, I want people to know where we stood.”
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