Album Review: Incantation – Sect Of Vile Divinities

Album Review: Incantation - Sect Of Vile Divinities

Album Review: Incantation - Sect Of Vile Divinities
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

In the world of death metal, ‘legends’ is probably an overused word. It is, however, a genre which has provided some of the most consistent performers over the past 30 years. Bands that by rights should have passed on the torch to their younger counterparts still provide brutality by the bucket load. One such band is Incantation. Leaders of the New York City death metal movement. Spearheaded by John McEntee who remains the sole original member in the band, Incantation have produced 11 full length albums over the past 30 years, their death metal infused with a level of doom that few others incorporated into their sound.

Album number 12 is ‘Sect of Vile Divinities’ which follows 2017’s excellent ‘Profane Nexus’. Incantation’s line up may have been a revolving door over the years with McEntee handling both lead guitar and vocal duties since ‘Decimate Christendom’ back in 2004 but the engine room of the band is relatively stable, Chuck Sherwood’s solid bass having been the backbone of the band since 2008 whilst drummer Kyle Severn has played on every album since ‘Diabolical Conquest’ in 1998.

Album Review: Incantation - Sect Of Vile Divinities

‘Sect of Vile Divinities’ opens in savage style, a ferocious riff and McEntee’s trademark gruff growling as the band launch into ‘Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky is One’). It gives way to the massively doom infested ‘Propitiation’, which itself stands aside to introduce the arrival of one of the standout tracks, the incredibly titled ‘Entrails of the Hag Queen’. Slicing, glacial chunked riffs crash down, gargantuan in proportion. Incantation’s reputation of blending doom with the most brutal death metal is upheld.

Move forward to ‘Black Fathom’s Fire’, a huge, sinister, and voracious track, with frenetic soloing around the edges and you are slowly aware that this is one of the heaviest releases of 2020. The punishingly heavy ‘Ignis Fattus’ drags its heaving carcass forward, the pace slowed to almost a stop. The weight of the crushing riffs almost suffocating. By contrast, ‘Chant of Formless Dread’ explodes in a thrashing, fiery melee. The variation incredible, the power similarly intense.

Whilst Incantation maintain the crushing formula that has served them well over the past three decades, there is always room for some change. ‘Scribes of the Stygian’ retains all the power but eases off on the serious crushing riffing, for a short period of time anyway! ‘Unborn Ambrosia’ is the album’s longest track at over six minutes, a brooding, menacing beast of a song. Meanwhile elsewhere, many of the songs here are substantially shorter. At 45 minutes and 12 songs, ‘Sect of Vile Divinities’ is a comprehensive statement that for all the new pretenders, Incantation are in no hurry to stand aside.

Sect of Vile Divinities is released on Relapse Records on 21st August

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