Review Summary: one of the more classic death metal releases. incantation does not disapoint those who are fans of more "jazzy" metal releases. Although i wish there was more of the more down tempo tracks.
Incantation are not a atypical death metal band. Often you find most death metal band racketing in one tempo a song. A solid mass of rythymn guitar only usually slowing down for a few jazz like solo parts. You dont really suffer the same repetitive mush with incantation. They, much the same as other " jazz style" death metal bands like cryptopsy, do a pretty good job of breaking up the mix with variances of styles that go from a brutally fast pace to a wonderfully sludgy lurch.
I would do a track by track of this album but it would do it a diservice. A lot of the tracks have a lot of similar characteristics that are shared with other staple death metal bands of their era. Some keep the more steady solid fast tempo and rythymn of the earlier death metal influences. But the vast majority do not rest on their laurels and mix it up quite well.
Often a lot of the best songs on the album imho are the tracks that vary the speed..as opposed to the opening track for the album "blaphemy". There are a few tracks that keep a very steady tempo compared to a lot of the other songs in the later parts of the album. We see the breakdowns getting more adventurous after the first track..and the song structures are'nt quite as rigid as much.
The only real repetition on this album is the drums. Its usually a solid blastbeat with little real breakdowns for the most part. Mostly the same old doublebass , and does not really break any new ground.We hear in the beginning at least the drums in that rut. Later throughout the albums progression you can hear a little bit more diversity. The drums themselves do not really do much as far as exploration though. You can hear a bit more of a tribal gallup in the slower paced songs, but its only to really backup the real star of the project the guitar work. Which i find to be the only real weakness of this album. A good death metal release really does need a bit more of a skilled drummer compared to other rock. Still though its not that much of a detriment when the sum of all the parts are added up.
One of the most solid elements of this album is the vocals.Throughout the album the vocals have quite the range. The vocalist for this band does a good job of keeping his growl going when the guitars are more in a lurch. Usually though he comes to a lot of masterful barking style epitets that roll along during the parts that are in more of a higher tempo. Some of the vocals seem just as to accentuate the bite of the punching guitars ,almost with the same percussive resonance that seems to be very fitting.
The vocalist growls a bit slower in the more doomy sections in this album ,and there are quite a few wonderful parts where the guitars just lurch , lurch along while the growls refrain in a slow perdition. The voice of the lead singer masterfully holding a drug out gurgle of low end.
There are quite a few very nice melodic breakdowns on the guitar parts as well. Much though more chugging around within the downtuned gravity of I would almost say sludge. I would have to say that the guitars are one of the greatest strengths in this release. Within a lot of the song structures the breakdowns and tempo changes the guitars hold a very solid groove that does not falter in any way. And as there are quite a few parts here where the tempos change on the drop of a dime i find this to be quite impressive.
Much the same though this album spans a wide range of various places that death metal tends to go. And they do it quite well. Thats the genius of this sort of work.
You can't wax philosophic though on particular points of that really stand out over others. There are a lot of minor details in this recording that show how remarkable the craftmanship is. Especially in the sense of how they project the heaviness of the overall combination of the musical elements. Some of the heaviest tracks on this record are the ones that you're just waiting for the tempo and the pace to just rise up to the jack hammering pace. And then it all just falls back to a more slack sludge duel. and then it gears up again into a steady beat blast pace once more.
Altogether a very solid release. Its rare to find a good death metal band that can mix things up a bit. This release will pummel you but at least vary the mix. I do wish though that there was more downtempo tracks on this release. Although i think that the faster paced tracks are still quite good and hold up quite well.