By Matt Hinch
Old school death metal stalwarts Incantation have been in the game for a long time (in one form or another) proving that age is nothing but a number. Lone original member in guitarist/vocalist John McEntee and the boys have unleashed a total ripper of an album in the form of Vanquish In Vengeance. Their ’92 debut, Onward To Golgotha and follow-up Mortal Throne of Nazarene are considered death metal classics. There aren’t enough hours in a day for me to keep up on that sort of thing but if they are half as good as ViV I’ll assume the “classic” designation is verifiable. Undeniably death metal, Incantation aren’t content to just chug and blast for fifty some minutes. While most of the album is the aural equivalent of being trampled by a giant galloping cheetah, more tempered tempos are found consistently. When Incantation slows the pace down the impact is just as forceful as when blasting at full speed. I’d be intrigued to hear them do a pure doom album.
ViV is an unpretentious barn burner of an album. Blistering opener “Invoked Infinity” sets the blood racing, adrenalizing the listener for what’s to come. Incantation maintain that intensity throughout but it takes various forms. From the slow burning crush found on “Ascend into the Eternal” and “Transcend into Absolute Dissolution” to the frenzied black metal buzz on “Progeny of Tyranny” or the ultra-brutal tendrils of disgust on “Profound Loathing”, Incantation steam rolls the listener into a pulverized pile of dust.
Longtime drummer Kyle Severn is a percussive beast performing precisely and timely, smashing with fervor while remaining tight. While the bass of Chuck Sherwood can get lost in the mix at times, when it shines through (“The Hellions Genesis”) you know there is more going on than is readily apparent. Matched with McEntee’s rapturous rhythms and Alex Bouck‘s slick leads, the trio sew together engaging and catchy tracks you never want to let go of.
In stark contrast to the hair whipping speed displayed elsewhere, closer “Legion of Dis” features tortuously drawn doom/death riffs which scrape the crust of eons from the core of the earth. Agonizingly guttural and murky, the track moves like a zombie on heroin. It’s only fitting that an album based on religious genocide is this manic, menacing and monolithic all at once. Vanquish in Vengeance proves that genuine old-schoolers do OSDM best. Even after 20 years Incantation can lay down the gauntlet for the next generation. This may all sound hyperbolic but if I can listen to the album an average of at least twice a day for weeks and not even start getting tired of it, that should be testament enough to its awesomeness.