Incantation – Sect Of Vile Divinities

There is only a bunch of death metal bands out there I can recall who remained persistently consistent in their music style and their principles and generally in what they stood for over the years. Incantation is for sure one of them bands. Their unholy/diabolical and dark/doom perspective for death metal music keeps punishing our ears and brains for over 3 decades, only leaving them each time eager for more and more. So, it always is a great pleasure for me to lay my ears on a new Incantation release (in fact every time I am expecting them releases). I get the exact same feeling every time I listen to an older Incantation release and I get the exact same feeling every time I get to see them live in one of their excellent shows. So, to brief it up, my respect for Incantation is endless. With these said, it was with great anticipation and as always with high expectations that I pushed “play” on my system to listen to their 12th full length album with the perfectly shaped title for its concept “Sect Of Vile Divinities” (please read more about the concept of the album and many more in my interview with John McEntee and Chuck Sherwood posted on BRUTALISM.com).

The opening track ‘Ritual Impurity (Seven Of The Sky Is One)’ breaks in with the most powerful and brutal way offering a death/thrash riff attack followed by amazing drum breaks from the master of the art Kyle Severn. John’s screams at the intro of the song soon turn to his usual low-end deep guttural vocals as soon as the basic riff hits you up. The ritual has begun! The riffs are circular, asphyxiating and sadistic! It is amazing how easily they can play with the tempo. When they decide to slow the beat of the song, all hell breaks loose! It feels like you are thrown in a swamp and a giant stone is thrown over you. So much is the energy and so much is the heaviness! The rotten vibe of the song is perfectly enhanced by the worm-crawling doomy bass. The guitar bends at the end of the phrases lead to groovy mid tempo ultra sickening themes, that will get fast again. The lead is coming straight out of the birthrising days of death metal and has a great feel and a great work on the tremolo! The production is absolutely brilliant! Old school, but up to date and perfectly comprehensible! Props to Dan Swanö for that!

Doom/Death shakes the building from the foundation stone right from the opening riff of ‘Propitiation’. The sickening lead guitar gives way to a trademark Incantation riff. The break is doomier and highlights the misery. Incantation never forget their melodies and harmonies. Tasteful lead parts (un)color the song in a perfect way. ‘Propitiation’ will leave you speechless, feeling devoid of any life! Doom is the abscence of life and ‘Propitiation’ is doom/death at its best!

‘Entrails Of The Hag Queen’ is a soul shattering fast song. I am amazed at the way John uses his voice as an instrument to deliver the message. Grandiose doom guitar themes break in, mid tempo riffs with countless changes and few faster ones build up an extreme post-apocalyptic scenery. The songwriting of Incantation is by no means typical. It always serves the song and the message. The alienation I felt with the last riff nailed me with the back against the wall in pure hopelessness.

After a short eerie synth intro ‘Guardians From The Primeval’ breaks in fast. The air lessens in the room over the pummeling and violent Incantation force. You are destined to suffer waiting for the doom break only to take a short breath just before diving back again into the deepest abyss. The lead is very technical and reveals another aspect of the band, proving wrong the ones who ever thought death metal is a noise lacking any technical skills. Explosively fast parts and doom parts of utter suffering are guaranteed to bend you over. The sweetness of the lead guitars is unworldly.

Imagine a mix of Possessed, Hellhammer and early Slayer attacking you simultaneously and you instantly get what ‘Black Fathom’s Fire’ is all about. The riff is monolithic and full of animosity. The drumming is pummelingly intense. The general atmosphere of the song has borrowed a lot from Slayer’s “Hell Awaits”, but Incantation makes it even sicker, darker and more desperate. The bass line is crawling under the guitar noise which is shaped to a riff following an early death/black riffology pattern. Incantation’s riffs are always darkest colored. Darkened, haunting and hellish are the words to describe what you will listen here! There is an eastern vibe in some of the riffs which add many points to the overall great taste of the song!

‘Ignis Fatuus’ opening riff brought to mind one of the most underrated doom/death bands, Ophthalamia. The doomy slow and utterly dark grooves are severely soul sodomizing. Rotting vocals drape the crawling riffs. The guitar bends are so huge that actually sound like new riffs laid over riffs. The drums are marching on and on endlessly to the funeral of life. Each note used is absolutely precious and carefully selected!

A sadistic tribute to nuclear metal is ‘Chant Of Formless Dread’. The groundbreaking technical complexities of the song combined with the ultra fast performance make me really anxious to see this one played live! John’s vocals are deeper than the wells of hell. They are perfectly convincing the listener of the upcoming sickness. The song has a sick, deadly, apocalyptic atmosphere and sounds like a demonic summoning or a call of the undead. The thrash leads are totally sick! The abrupt ending simply marks the final touch needed to accomplish the Incantation unique songwriting!

‘Shadow-Blade Masters Of Tempest And Maelstrom’ is another trademark song for Incantation. The thick, monstrous bass-lines of Chuck Sherwood and a Kyle Severn who remains focus and into the groove even with the minimum use of his drum set, create an amazing rhythm section whose fast parts are absolutely seminar. The riffs are endlessly crawling underground, and I especially loved the doom-driven open chords. Doom metal with death metal attitude.

‘Scribes Of The Stygian’ starts with a riff Thergothon would surely dig. Miserable, dark, mysterious and mystical. Kyle’s fills are so huge even if he uses only a single cymbal! The song features a bone-crushing mid tempo theme, but what will really blast you off is the way the opening doom riff strikes in. The lead is very slow and performed in an unpredictable way. The inspiration of this band is absolutely endless and it always comes to amaze me! The riffs are crunchy and emotionally asphyxiating! Doom awaits you and death follows you close behind in every step you tread.

The album’s longest track is ‘Unborn Ambrosia’. The opening riff of the song reminded me of the way early Paradise Lost used the guitars. The gloomy Incantation vibe is enhanced when the drums are left alone. Kyle, using only a drum, makes you feel the stress of something evil that’s coming in. And what’s coming in is misery in the name of the Incantation death/doom. The lead guitar is majestically laid upon a fast riff. The bass blackens even more the song! The technically advanced themes underline the use of doom themes which always await right in the corner to punch you in your face.

The album’s penultimate song ‘Fury’s Manifesto’ is another fast track with nice hooks and breaks, sharp-edged fast leads and an “into the pit” vibe. The vocals offer the old school devilish feeling coming from the very depths of hell. Definitely another mind-fucking brutal song Incantation unleashed upon humanity in the name of sickness, filth and disease! Praise the Sick!

The last song of the album ‘Siege Hive’ covers the distance of the whole Incantation discography in less than 5 minutes. Intense riffs, opening with lead guitars, John spitting his lungs out, Slayer-worship leads over mid tempo grooves as the ones we were brought up with back in the 90’s, fantastic songwriting, leads over leads, amazing and meaningful phrases, dark doom. John’s vocals are sadistically old-school be it low-end gutturals or death metal “ughs”. Ultimate sickness and a basic riff that will stick in your mind forever! Slayer’s “Hell Awaits” influences are once again present in the filth, obscurity and chaos of the final moments of the album! Life reduced to a swamp of pus and rot! The remnants of life are left to inhale the fumes!

For those of us who follow the Incantation discography passionately since the 90’s, “Sect Of Vile Divinities” is a fantastic follower to “Profane Nexus” and another flesh scorching treat in their mythical discography. “Sect Of Vile Divinities” appears to be even more intense and aggressive that its predecessor, but at the same time it is an utterly dark record with amazing doom – at times almost funeral – and monolithic parts in the name of the old school death metal. The faster parts of the album are absolutely ripping, showing the band has made a great progress in terms of technical performance, while the doom parts are slower and lower than you being buried under 10 tones of mud. The heaviness is unmatched! The hooks and grooves are there at the exact moment you need them and everything is set up to perfection! I believe “Sect Of Vile Divinities” is a fantastic album that guarantees to pay you off from the first listen! Incantation are a school of their own! Many new bands owe a lot to their style and attitude! Incantation remain true to their principles for one more album! And for this alone they will forever remain adored! Buy and listen to real death metal or Die in ignorance! One of my Top Albums for 2020!

5 / 5 STARS 

Reviewer: Manos Michaelides

Sep 8, 2020

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Incantation – Sect Of Vile Divinities

review Incantation - Sect Of Vile Divinities

1. Ritual Impurity (Seven Of The Sky Is One)
2. Propitiation
3. Entrails Of The Hag Queen
4. Guardians From The Primeval
5. Black Fathom’s Fire
6. Ignis Fatuus
7. Chant Of Formless Dread
8. Shadow-Blade Masters Of Tempest And Maelstrom
9. Scribes Of The Stygian
10. Unborn Ambrosia
11. Fury’s Manifesto
12. Siege Hive

5

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