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Perfection. A single word that I often associate with this album. In 1992, death metal achieved it's most evil, heavy, brutal and all around addicting album to date, and that comes in the form of "Onward to Golgotha". Death metal was leading up to this brilliant juxtaposition of fast and slow, complete with down tuned guitars and even lower vocals. Taking these elements and combining it with superb song writing and a natural sense for evil riffing, Incantation proved themselves as one of the most important bands in death metal.
The first track can pretty much sum up all the elements of what there is to find on this album. The production favors the low end nature of this album, as nothing gets buried. The bass can be heard rumbling behind everything, while the guitars are effectively crushing in slow parts, and like chainsaw when tremolo picked. There's no trickery here, that's for sure.
Anyway, aside from the production, it's obvious these guys understood how to write songs well. A motif will be introduced, and as it's developing, counterpoint motifs of half times and double times come into the picture, creating songs with lots memorable parts. These two motifs always seem related and never awkward when put together, so these guys obviously weren't pulling riffs out of their asses and sticking them anywhere. It also helps that the riffs they do come up with are of high caliber, they always seem to manage to be relevant and memorable to the song. John McEntee wrote some stellar riffs without a doubt.
Speaking of writing, Paul Ledney seemed to have a hand in some of the riffs in this album, as one will notice them on Havohej/Profanatica material. In this case, the Ledney-like riffs do have more of a death metal edge on them, mostly due to the performance.
Certainly the performance here has a lot to do with why this record rules so much. Jim Roe has an excellent sense of rhythm and often offers interesting beats that are catchy in their own way. Not to mention his blast beats are pummeling and really set the standard for Incantation. The rest of the band plays with a lot of conviction too.
A good portion of the songs on this album had been released already demos/EPs, but one will notice that it's a different line up playing them here. Songs like "Profanation" sound even more crushing than previous recordings, and Craig Pillard's vocal performance on this album certainly has a lot to do with that. His low guttural vocals are not to be missed, as Pillard probably has the best grasp on this style of vocals.
This album really took all the best elements of death metal and expanded on them, creating a varied yet brutal album, one that still stands up to this day. It's a shame that the line up here only recorded this album together (and that recently released recordings from 1991). Although, sans-McEntee, they would meet again in Womb/Disciples of Mockery which is recommended for fans of this.