Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Incantation - Blasphemy

Not too sure how The Infernal Storm gets major props while people snivel and complain that this is the weakest album in Incantation's career. At what point did I get abducted and brought to this alien planet full of homosexual androids? How is The Infernal Storm even remotely superior to this album? Please, seriously, someone fucking explain this shit to me, now!

After the epic and colossal career high that was 1998's Diabolical Conquest, it appeared that Incantation ran out of steam. Big time. Though the vocals on The Infernal Storm were more to my liking (I was not a big fan of Daniel Corchado's whiny bitch sounding rasp. Why he abandoned the superior low end that he employed during his tenure in Cenotaph is a question that may hopefully be answered at the end of the year when the Mayan calender reaches its exhaustion point), I felt that, even though the vocal delivery of Mike Saez lacked the abysmal depth and all encompassing range that Craig Pillard possessed, he was definitely on the right track and fit in better with Incantation's cavernous and mythological sounding death/doom revelry.

Unfortunately, the songs were just not there. I've listened to TIS countless times and to no avail. Aside from a mere and pitiful amount of two or three riffs, at best, TIS was a tired and uninspired affair that left me wondering if Incantation had indeed lost the magic. Hey, it happens. The production was also very weak and even cleaner than usual, which just sounded fucking wrong on an Incantation album.

I guess while drummer Kyle Severn was off somewhere nodding off in some heroin induced "Candy Land" for the mind, John Mac & Cheese and co. (aka "members of the month) decided to try their hand at trend hopping by hiring on, then "go to" drummer guy, Dave Culross to come in and save the day. Personally, I've NEVER understood the hype that surrounds that guy like a radioactive drug supply at a dope dealers pad over in Pripyat. Sure, he's tight, but that's about it. There is absolutely NOTHING special or out of the ordinary about his performance. Period.

After the failure of TIS (a first for Incant, in my book), I was more than a little concerned as to whether or not they'd be able to uproot themselves from out of the creative mire they had now found themselves stuck within. My worries only deepened when I found out that the title of the new album was the bland and rather off course pick of 'Blasphemy'. After so many epic displays of wordplay such as 'Mortal Throne of Nazarene', 'The Forsaken Mourning of Angelic Anguish' and 'Upon the Throne of Apocalypse', I was beginning to wonder if the band was finally starting to lose interest in its investments and if this would indeed reflect upon the contents of their new album. Upon exposure to the first track my worries began to fade away. THIS was more like it!

Along with a muddier, dirtier sound, the weird and bizarre harmonic laden riff onslaught of old was back in full force. Indeed the band had found the well of inspiration and drank from it deeply. This is the album that should have succeeded Diabolical Conquest. By fucking far. Here, the vocals of Mike Saez blend in perfectly and make the absence of Craig Pillard all the more easier to grow accustomed to. Saez may not possess the mile long growls that Craig so effortlessly unleashes, but his performance on this album is more than competent and again, only adds to Incantation's strangely rotting and mythological sound which conjures images of the Greek underworld among other various ancient scenarios and locations.

Also returning to the fold was the Pete to John's Trey, Kyle Severn. Apparently he decided that despite the overwhelmingly addictive sojourns to Candy Land, he could not let the legacy of Incantation go down in flames as it had begun to do as a result of the bands previous outing. The drumming here is nothing short of perfection. This isn't the overwrought showboating that most death metal bands require. This is a return to the style of old where feeling trumps technicality.

There is a very similar feeling to Diabolical Conquest on here. There are more than a few instances where McEntee's penchant for weirdo harmonics are used to full effect such as DC's 'Disciples of Blasphemous Reprisal', or depressing and colossal slabs of doomy instrumentation ala 'Unheavenly Skies'. This is the Incantation that I became infatuated with way back when I first heard 1991's 'Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies'. Again, I will never understand for the life of me, why this album catches the amount of flack that it does while stale turdfests such as The Infernal Storm and the two albums after 'Blasphemy' get their knobs ritually polished by all of the geeks over at Metal-Archives on the constant. Trust me. If you dig Incantation's older material, than grab this up by any means necessary! This is without a doubt, Incant's last album to truly represent that ancient and rotting sound first crafted by the band so long ago.

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