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I first heard of Incantation while looking for some good old school death metal on iTunes’s store and Incantation came up. I had sort of high hopes for their debut cd, "Onward to Golgotha", and while I was disappointed, it wasn't enough to completely turn me off to the band.
I have two main problems with "Onward to Golgotha". The first is that the production quality of the album is just awful. The guitars, vocals, and drums are mixed to the point that they sound like one big blob of sound that one has to strain to listen to the music that's being played. There's a lot of "noise" in the mix that makes the album difficult to listen to. The guitar riffs can be heard, but because of the poor production quality are hard to hear clearly.
My second problem is the songwriting on the album. Every song, at least to my ears, sounds the same, but in the band's defense this can also be due to the poor production quality. The album does feature some great tracks, like "Rotting Spiritual Embodiment", "Eternal Torture", and "Immortal Cessation", among others. The problem I have is that the songs, while good, even great sometimes, sound too similar to each other, and while listening I'll often forget what track I'm on and the album sounds like one long track to me.
On the good side, I greatly enjoyed the vocals and the band's style of playing. To me, the band's style of playing sounds sort of like a combination of Immolation and Suffocation, both NY-based pioneers in the death metal genre. The vocals on "Onward to Golgotha" are deep, guttural, and suit the dark atmosphere of the music perfectly. Once you get past the poor production and repetitiveness, the guitar playing is actually very good.
Despite its flaws, I enjoyed "Onward to Golgotha" enough to purchase Incantation's second album, "Mortal Throne of Nazarene". Remember that this is a debut album and I've heard very few debut albums that are perfect. Incantation's debut, while not particularly good, is enough to make you come back for more.