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I've been following the Netherlands-based death metal outfit Supreme Pain since its debut in 2008. I've enjoyed each new release more than the last as Supreme Pain has improved by leaps and bounds with every album. The group's third and newest, Divine Incarnation, is easily its most fully-formed and strongest album yet.
Supreme Pain plays death metal that is similar to the traditional Floridian style of the nineties. It's heavy, catchy, and precise without being overly technical. Despite having members of bands like Sinister and Infinited Hate in its ranks, Supreme Pain does not feel like a side project. This is a real band, and Divine Incarnation proves that this crew can hang with pretty much any other death metal group playing this style today. Generally speaking, Divine Incarnation does initially come off as pretty standard death metal, but each song has something special to catch the listener's attention from the get-go. "Damned Creation" and "Trapped in Heresy" utilize strong Slayer-esque grooves that are hard to resist. The ringing open notes in "Treasonous Disease," the rhythmic shifts in "Divine Incarnation," and the bass work in "The Fallen Kingdom" all standout beginning with the listener's initial pass through the album. The songs as a whole will grow on the listener gradually with each repeated visit. Eventually, what begins as just another decent death metal album becomes a collection of songs that stick with you. I find myself returning to Divine Incarnation relatively often. That's saying something with all of the similar CDs I already have sitting on my shelf. My only true complaint about Divine Incarnation is that the album is overly long. Once I've listened to this release from start to finish, I'm completely satisfied. I don't feel the need to spin the album again immediately. I personally prefer it if an album is of such great quality and just the right length that I can't wait to hear it again. If Divine Incarnation was trimmed slightly, I'd probably be more anxious to hear it again right away. Nevertheless, I still find myself returning to this album several times each week.
If you are a fan of bands like Sinister and Infinited Hate that stick to the traditional death metal formula and do it well, then Divine Incarnation is for you. If you like Supreme Pain's previous releases, you will truly be impressed with this new album. It takes the production and song-writing of the previous album, Nemesis Enforcer, and improves it ten-fold. Fans of classic nineties death metal should give Divine Incarnation the chance it deserves. If you want something ground-breaking, this ain't it. If you want a kick ass death metal album, you just found one.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com
If I had to use just one word to describe Divine Incarnation, it would be the word solid. Every song on this record is solid through and through. The riffs are well put together, and everything just flows really well. The growls are solid, the drums are solid. The greatest strength of this album is probably that there are no real major flaws to it whatsoever, it's an intro and nine songs of great, entertaining death metal.
Now that we've established the quality of the album, let's move on to what it actually sounds like. As previously established, it's a death metal release. Beyond that, there's not really much to say. It could be probably described as an old-school death metal release, but that's mostly because it doesn't have the aspects of death metal that would become more modern such as technical or brutal death metal. Don't be mistaken, there are brutal moments, but it's more melodic than anything. It's not a melodic death metal album at all, though. If anything it has the melody sensibilities of The Chasm, but the production tends to be a bit clearer, so the chords and notes are a bit more defined.
As for the songwriting, everything here is excellent. There is definitely a flow from riff to riff within songs, and definitely on a song to song basis it works really well. It's a bit redundant saying this because it is a staple of death metal, but it eschews typical verse-chorus structure and avoids repetition really well. There is even the track, "Putrefied Beauty" that goes on a lengthy and epic guitar solo after only the FIRST verse, and it certainly captures the death metal spirit containing everything dark, epic, and energetic. Riffs are developed throughout a song, most evidently in the song "Spiritual Sickness", which opens in a strong and haunting melodic riff that eventually becomes twisted and becomes more brutal over time.
It's hardly a revolutionary metal release, but it doesn't need to be. Overall, I just can't point out anything wrong with it. It's energetic, it's melodic, and it's heavy. In summation it's everything somebody wants in a death metal release. This is one of the best releases of 2011, and from such a little known band! It may not please those who need their death metal to be completely dissonant or constantly brutal, but otherwise it is a highly recommended for death metal fans of all types.