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New Jersey’s Incantation was not only one of the long running death metal bands to emerge in the music’s post-Morbid Angel second wave of world domination for the genre, but also one of the most creative and best. Led by guitarist (and sometime vocalist) John McEntee, the band have, despite a constant revolving door of membership changes, made some of the heaviest and darkest music ever laid down in praise of Thanatos (the god of death, not the Dutch band), always in the band’s inimitable style.
Two seven inch singles preceded the band’s debut proper (Entrantment Of Evil and Deliverance Of Horrific Prophecies) and thus we underground troglodytes were well primed for the appearance of the band’s official digital debut. First off the sound job is raw like hunks of bloodied Christian limbs in a Roman amphitheatre. This, in itself, was a relief because by 1992, the number or death metal bands receiving safe, super-processed sound jobs at the Mecca of studios, Morrisound in Florida was getting predictable, out of hand and depressing. But not so for Incantation, who preferred a distinct but crusty noise to lay their tracks down onto. Secondly, the songs themselves are deftly limber, despite their downright leaden weight, shifting easily from blast beat viciousness to slow, slithering doom with remarkable ease. In fact it actually the slowest cut on hand “Christening The Afterbirth” that hammers home the band’s point with the most evil intent, although “Golgotha” and “Unholy Massacre” also feature riffing and structures of fearsome mass.
It must be said that in a glut of bands trying to perform ever more brutal and blasting death metal, Incantation have always maintained their identity. Sure their music is as wicked and gruff as death metal has any right to be, but it’s also (un)blessed with eerie structures, memorable anti-melodies, and an ever present, nearly tangible sense of doom and desperation. Which is something a Morrisound production job could almost never conjure, no matter how good their stupid mixing board was.