Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Ah, Incantation. For over 30 years these gentlemen have been crafting some of the most malicious, twisted, and downright crushing death metal there is. It's unfortunate that, while they do have the legendary status, they do not get enough credit for what they have done for the scene. Death metal doesn't have to be one-note, and they prove that. So even after twelve albums, one would think a band would simmer down and start to lose their energy and bite. Incantation, however, does the complete opposite, and continues to push their abyss-consuming death metal bludgeoning on their latest studio album. Enter the Sect of Vile Divinities.
"Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky is One)" wastes no time with interludes and immediately bludgeons you. The trademark twisted Incantation melodies are there, and it's just a brutal onslaught. The perfect way to open the album. Followup "Propitiation" showcases the band's doomier side. The riffs are a blackened vortex of malice. The melodies are fucking frightening, and the riffs are devastating. I wouldn't expect anything less from them.
"Entrails of the Hag Queen" is a scorcher! The opening riff is seriously one of the most intense and aggressive Incantation riffs in their entire discography, and that assessment goes for the whole song as well. The transitioning between the slow, doomed out parts and the chaotic blasting is perfect, and showcases how great of a songwriter guitarist/vocalist John McEntee is.
With songs like "Guardians of the Primeval," "Chant of Formless Dread," and "Fury's Manifesto," you get the signature brutality of Incantation, albeit with a few different elements. "Chant of Formless Dread" in particular is one of my favorite songs on the album. I love how razor-sharp the riffing is, but an added jagged and dissonant bite gives the song an even more pummeling atmosphere.
But two of some of the biggest highlights on the album are "Scribes of the Stygian" and "Unborn Ambrosia." These songs bring crushing doom to the forefront. The former in particular is a MAJOR highlight. Incantation has always been an evil-sounding band, but with this song the menace and dread is amplified to the max. I can, with utmost honesty, say that this is truly one of the most frightening Incantation songs in their entire discography. "Unborn Ambrosia" is also worth mentioning because I love the ritualistic atmosphere that it conveys. I love the way drummer Kyle Severn breaks up the sections in the song with some really classy floor tom hits, bringing that ritualistic atmosphere to even greater heights.
I had a feeling this was going to be great album. While I love almost everything Incantation has released, I did find that I was slightly disappointed with the previous album Profane Nexus. While it wasn't a horrid album by any means, I just found it to not be as engaging as their prior works. With Sect of Vile Divinities, Incantation have rectified that and, in my opinion, may have released one of the best albums of their career. The songwriting is stellar, the performances are razor-sharp, and the production is amazing. Now of course you'll have some people who will say "It's not Onward to Golgotha or "It's not Mortal Throne of Nazarene," but ignore the purists and just check this damn album out. If you are a true Incantation fan, you will have no complaints with this album. Not a lot of bands have the same passion as they did when they were 20 years old, but Incantation have proven that they are still as vital and devastating as they were when they formed. And that deserves praise. John McEntee, Chuck Sherwood, Kyle Severn, and Luke Shively, I tip my hat to you gentlemen.
Incantation - Sect of Vile Divinities will be released Aug. 21st fromRelapse Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!