REVIEW: INCANTATION – “Sect Of Vile Divinities”
Death metal stalwarts Incantation have been an influential force in the genre for about 30 years now. The sound they developed grew into the popular ‘cavernous’ blueprint seen in death metal in the last decade or so. The band has been fairly consistent with the quality of the releases in the three decades, and I foresee it, for better or worse, not budging from the essential musical structure on which Incantation has built its throne. None of it has changed with Incantation’s 12th full-length album ‘Sect of Vile Divinities’.
Incantation once again architects an unholy atmosphere studded with riffs of venomous strikes and torturous grueling in ‘Sect of Vile Divinities’. As always, Incantation’s interplay of hurtling death metal and excruciating doom sections is the mainstay here as well. The band’s last three albums have been mixed and mastered by the legendary Dan Swanö, and the same goes here as well. I’m not sure if I can attribute the slight buzzsaw guitar sound heard in the last couple of albums to Dan’s involvement, but it definitely is more pronounced on this album. Thematically, Incantation ropes in several ‘demonic’ entities from various cultures to a united summoning. Entities like Rangda from Bali’s Hindu influenced mythology, the biblical deity Moloch, Lamishtu from Mesopotamian mythology – all associated with children in similar ways – are invoked for a singular cause.
Unsurprisingly, there are several strong tracks on this album. When it comes to sheer brutality and relentless bludgeoning, tracks like “Chant of Formless Dead”, “Siege Hive” and “Fury’s Manifesto” absolutely destroy. On the other hand, the devastating death-doom elements outshine on tracks like “Entrails of the Hag Queen” and “Shadow-blade Masters of Tempest”. Sometimes the death-doom slows further down into aching funeral doom on tracks like “Ignis Fatuus”, “Scribes of The Stygian” and “Unborn Ambrosia”. Personally, I think this is a second-half heavy album. The first couple of tracks didn’t stand out for me as much and I was a little worried there, but “Entrails..” onwards, the album picks up very well and a shape begins to appear.
Can you have enough Incantation? That is the question to answer before you get into the ‘Sect of Vile Divinities’. The album is everything Incantation has been about over the years and if you want more of that content, then this album is a sweet seasonal offering. The riffs are there, the punches don’t stop, and the vile Incantation atmosphere is ever-present. There isn’t much else to say, that the fans of the band don’t understand – it’s another Incantation record, and it is Incantation alright.