The Sin and Doom Vol. II sounds fresh; while the band harnesses the same sound and energy on the surface, there is something energetic about this album that I haven't felt since There Will Be Violence. Front man Brook Reeves is the face and backbone of the band, growling and shrieking with enough passion to scare the demons out of hell. Longtime guitarist Manny Contreras (Sleeping Giant, Bleeding Through) is accompanied on his shredding with rhythm guitarist Eric Correa. Brandon Trahan makes magic with the drum kit while bassist David Sittig keeps the band centered. The Sin and Doom Vol. II displays Impending Doom at the top of their game. Apparently, deathcore is not quite dead, even in 2018.
On to the music! The album begins ominously with "The Wretched and Godless," with vague apocalyptic noises that blossom into a shattering death metal assault. There's some operatic singing in the background that is barely audible, but it serves to give the song an end-of-the-world feeling. Then it's on to "Burn," a more rhythmic track that is reminiscent of material from The Serpent Servant. Near the end of the song, the band executes a gradual tempo change, demonstrating that they've been working on their musicianship during these 5 years. "War Music" launches with distorted guitar that catapults into patterned drumming. There's an obvious hardcore feel to this particular song, and Trahan simply slays with the drums.
Song number 4 is pure EVIL. No, really -- that's the name of the song: "EVIL." It's a signature Impending Doom track, with enough blast beats and breakdowns to satisfy even the most enlightened purveyor of mosh pits and hardcore dancing. "Paved with Bones" is an unrelenting and furious slab of death metal. The advantage of having multiple guitars can clearly be seen on this track, as the two musicians face off with dueling riffs.
Take a deep breath. We're past the halfway point, with even more crushing death metal to experience. "The Serpents Tongue" is a short, violent song that dips the band into mediocrity for a few moments. But the band is back on track with "Unbroken." There are some djent influences on this song, which surprised me a bit, but they don't overshadow the band's core deathcore sound. If "Devils Den" doesn't get your heartbeat up and your fist pounding the air, then you might want to check to see if you're still among the living. Reeves sells this song with his passionate growling: "Slaughter the demons that are crawling on my brother's back!" "Devils Den" is the heaviest song that the band has written in a while, and even if it isn't "Nailed. Dead. Risen," I'll take it.
Two tracks remain on The Sin and Doom Vol. II. "Everything's Fake" features some unique guitar work; accompanied by the drumming, it gives the song an almost frantic feel at times. Reeves also drops his voice into some low, guttural sections that make the hair stand up on the back of the neck. The album closes with "Run For Your Life (She Calls)." The beginning of the song doesn't really feel like Impending Doom. It's almost too upbeat. However, as dark clouds gather on the horizon and thunder peals, the band that we all know and love emerges. Heavy hitting drums and fast guitars light up the stage as Reeves growls his heart out one final time.
The Sin and Doom Vol. II is a solid deathcore album that shows that Impending Doom is back and stronger than ever. A lot of people have forgotten about this deathcore titan, but do yourself a favor and rediscover them with this new material. While The Sin and Doom Vol. II isn't the album I necessarily expected in 2018, as the deathcore scene is much reduced from what it was years ago, it's a blast of nostalgia that doesn't stop pummeling your ear drums until the final note fades away.