Incantation - Sect of Vile Divinities
Relapse Records
Death Metal
12 songs (45:42)
Release year: 2020
Incantation, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Goat

Sometimes treated as a mere afterthought, Incantation are more than Immolation's gnarlier little brother. The band have a strong doom-death influence that manifests itself in their atmosphere-drenched reveries, pounded out faithfully on new albums every few years. There may be little progression in their style but early on in their career John McEntree and company (including famous possessor of a moustache, drummer Kyle Severn) hit on a solid formula that continues to bear poisonous fruit years later. And Sect of Vile Divinities is another entry in a discography that must be amongst the most consistent in underground metal for a band of their age, gifted with a clear but not totally ungrimy production thanks to the experienced hands of Dan Swanö. There's no delay in getting to the death metal, a brief lead-up and a yowl from McEntree leading to galloping thrashy riffery on opener Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky is One) complete with chaotic widdly soloing.

And from then on Incantation present a real mix of styles, often within the same song; the slow, doomy, almost Nile-esque slithering of Propitiation stands out early on the album, a spell being cast on the listener to drain their lifeforce in anticipation of what is yet to come. Rumbling pounders such as Entrails of the Hag Queen pummel relentlessly before breaking repeatedly for atmospheric swampy trawls to drag your ears through the mire, never losing the bleak intensity common to each song here that ties the album together so well. It's a relentless listen, offering little in the way of hooks or instantaneous memorability to guide the poor lost souls that come across it by chance. The brittle gallop of Black Fathom's Fire may case some pit fatalities when live shows are allowed to resume by the pestilential presidium that rules our lives at the time of writing, but it seizes your attention just as well here with that doom-death trudge that takes over in the second half. There's an oddly grandiose air to it in a way that continues into Ignis Fatuus's sludgy wallow and the wordily-titled Shadow-Blade Masters of Tempest and Maelstrom, a more technical showing that turns handfuls of the band's usual grime into clockwork precision.

Incantation hit a doomy peak in the slow, torturous Scribes of the Scythian, slow and oppressive; again, continuing into the following Unborn Ambrosia which builds up until it forms a lightspeed charge into your ears around the midpoint before devolving again. In comparison, shorter, more brutal pieces like Guardians from the Primeval, Fury's Manifesto or Chant of Formless Dread come across like an occult Suffocation, spilling your drink and demanding that you fight about it outside until head meets concrete. The latter has a deliciously blackened touch, again hearkening back to early Nile material, albeit stripped of pomp and reduced to desperate serpentine savagery. Those squealing riffs are reminiscent of Immolation's technical constructions, too; Incantation dwelling in the sewers beneath their cousin band's intellectual library, perhaps? However you choose to view them, Sect of Vile Divinities is worth the time of any death metal devotee unafraid of a little dirt - perhaps not Incantation's best album overall, but more than worthy as a starting point if you are new to their filthy conjurations.

Killing Songs :
Propitiation, Entrails of the Hag Queen, Black Fathom's Fire, Scribes of the Scythian
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Incantation that we have reviewed:
Incantation - Decimate Christendom reviewed by Crims and quoted 73 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:17 pm
View and Post comments