Always pushing the boundaries of Christian metal, veterans Impending Doom prove that after16 years in the scene, they still pack such a brutal punch.
Their latest EP, Hellbent, finds the band shattering eardrums and melting faces with an unflinchingly visceral and aggressive sound. Self-described as “Goreship” (which is the worship of God through “gore-sounding” music), Impending Doom uses the aggression of their music to hold fast to, and talk about, their faith. Surprising as it may be for some, their past lyrics often would fit well within the book of Psalms. On the 20-minute smash session that is Hellbent, the lyrics seem to be more of a scathing commentary on current cultural climates.
The opening track, “Satanic Panic,” rips the stitch without a moment’s hesitation. Filled to bursting with 1s and 0s, this track is a powerhouse that threatens to blow speakers out. With the chugging and crunch comes some interesting moments of unnerving melody in what serves as the bridge, and there are some legitimately fun riffs. Brook Reeves does his best to have shredded vocal cords at the end of this track (honestly, the same could be said for every track on the EP), and he has no qualms about being extremely direct with his lyrics: “We live in a world, 666 sadistic, narcissistic to the fullest. Praying on the innocent, demon in a suit, devil in a dress. There will be violence.”
“New World Horror” has a haunting lead played behind a main riff that feels incredibly offputting, in the best possible way. With a bounce in the verses, this track is a musical journey through the typical sludge of death metal and the technicality of metalcore riffs. An extremely enjoyable track that does not have matching lyrics. Where the instrumentation is a ton of fun, the lyrics are a direct challenge to the complacency that plagues so many: “The devil’s work is never done… You see the storm and ignore the war; welcome to the new world horror… The devil’s horns are mistaken for peace; complacency will be our downfall.”
Continuing the onslaught is “Culture of Death,” another no-punches-pulled track that experiments with some interesting melodies in the verses. Speaking into the danger that stems from self-harm, this track is arguably the most challenging to listen to. It is unrelenting and refuses the room to breathe, opting instead to pile on the cacophony. Making for an at times uncomfortable listen, Impending Doom rips the shine off of self-harm (and the many forms it may take), and they do so unapologetically.
“Hellbent” provides an authentic look inside the mind of Brook Reeves. While being the most frenetic track on the EP, this song feels incredibly hopeless. The one glimmer in the midst of the chaos is refusing to believe “the voices inside my head.” They are liars. Sometimes a single word, in this case the word “liar,” is all it takes to win the war within.
“I Must End” closes the EP with some of the most interesting accents in the instrumentation. As crazy as the four other tracks, yet somehow more focused, “I Must End” sums up the entire call to action of the whole album. Throughout all the criticism, self-reflection, and defiance, ultimately, “I must end!”
If everything we do isn’t with a mind to reflect the God we worship, what has it all been for? This song is a fantastic way to bring everything back to that focal point of Impending Doom’s purpose: worship of God, even if done through brutal and violent-sounding music.
Impending Doom shows no signs of slowing down, having just released a music video to accompany “Culture of Death.” Be sure to be following them on Facebook, Instagram, Apple Music, Spotify , and their website. For similar music, check out Reformers, Those Who Fear, Colossus, and Cultist.