Impending Doom is a well-known mainstay in the realm of Christian metal, so it feels weird to be talking about their having released an independent three-song EP, yet with Last Days this is exactly what we have. Having formed in October of 2005 in Riverside California, and having released six full-length albums since their inception (three with Facedown and three with eOne), the beloved "goreship" masters have returned with a short and brutal offering that should hold fans over for their next full-length.
Featuring the combined talents of Brook Reeves, David Sitting, Manny Contreras, and Andrew Holzbaur for a second go around, you get the feeling the band is extremely comfortable playing with each other. This is most apparent during the EP opener, "Eternal," the dark synth-laden wall of brutality that doesn't try and do too much in the way of reinventing the wheel, but showcases the talents of the previous mentioned lineup. What sets this apart from your typical deathcore offering is the focus on the little things, from the malleability of Brooks' vocals to the soft-spoken word segment right before probably one of my favorite breakdowns of the year that closes out the track. "In the End" continues cultivating the dark atmosphere with the tasty addition of Djent-like riffs that would make any metal head happy. Opening with the sound of a ticking clock, it carries a sense of foreboding and trepidation that gives way to a down tempo bass, closing as a sort of collective breath before the hard hitting "Spit." From its name to its presentation, it carries the feel of a pre-2000's Korn or Slipknot. It feels very comfortable in that skin as Contreras' guitar work and Holzbaur's kit work really shine the most in what, musically, is my favorite track.
Thematically, Impending Doom has always been very comfortable operating in, and taking lyrical inspiration from, the scene they inhabit. "Spit" embodies this aspect with the line "No one in Hell wants to be alone. We are all dirt; we are all dirt beneath God. So, who the hell do you think you are?" At its core, it is a song about dying to our pride and depravity that lurks in all our hearts. "Eternal" and "In the End" (not to be confused with the same-named hit by Linkin Park) lyrically and logically flow through the same waves with lines "My whole existence is being resistance, I will not listen to a world beyond repair" ("Eternal") and "Evil is a parasite of good, hate is the enemy of love" ("In the End"). It's safe to say that these lyrics aren't for the faint of heart or those just looking for positive and encouraging fluff, but for someone who has experienced a world of hurt and pain. These are the cries of warriors on distant battlefields as the charge is mounted in defense of family and friends. These are songs for those who have been through darkness and "hell," and are bridging the spiritual gap in a fight to aid those behind them to avoid the snares they themselves fell into.
Over the course of a well-established career, from being on major labels to now independent, Impending Doom has always been consistent on their message and the quality of their music. None of this changes on Last Days, in a world of deconstruction, progressivism, and watered-down Christianity, it's always a healthy thing to hear from the voices on the fringe -- those who have, as the Psalmist says, "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; my soul refused to be comforted." In these seasons, we are tested and strengthened and it's in these seasons that God often reveals Himself in deeper and stronger ways than any other. It's refreshing to hear from a consistent voice in the scene who hasn't wavered in his message or changed who he is to fit the new narrative of what it means to be Christian. Sometimes consistency is the key thing to walking through seasons of trouble.- Review date: 11/23/23, written by Matt Baldwin of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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