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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Review: Incantation – Sect of Vile Divinities

Label: Relapse Records

Date: August 21st, 2020

You have to love this band. There’s really no other way. Just from the names of past and current members and their biographies, you can compose a quite serious encyclopedia. With everything going on in their careers it is simply incredible they are capable of keeping the Incantation bar so high. And it doesn’t take them too much time either. Incantation is still fairly regular with their full length records. The twelfth being published a couple of days ago.

“Sect of Vile Divinities” is everything you have come to expect from the quartet. It would be foolish to stylistic swerving after three decades, right? They are among the best at what they are doing, so there would be no point to switch. The atmospheric death metal of theirs can hardly be compared to any other. Especially if you consider that Incantation never dives down into doom metal. Melancholia was never among their foundations. The feeling they create is that of an old, ominous cemetery. You can almost hear the bells ringing in the distance, announcing midnight hour. When all the foul creatures are creeping up on you. Will it be the fear itself that will be the end of you? Will death itself be the end of you? Or will you become another piece of the unforgiving ghoulish army? Many questions but only one way to find out for sure…

One thing was the main feature of almost every Incantation release thus far. It was never about what you are getting from their albums. The focus of their work is about what you take from it. And the said atmospheric aura is precisely it. Though technical to some extent, Incantation gives priority to the wholesome impact their records exude. The essence is in the brutal, yet not overly complex riffing, as well as in the drummers’ constant inconsistency, giving a whole lot of dynamic to the tracks. The elements that should be in the sonic front row, such as lead guitars, solos and particularly vocals are subtly infused within the soundscape. They add layers, but do not distract from the point of focus. Leads in particular are responsible for most of the atmospheric touches, yet stand in line with a wall of sound surrounding them.

Come to think of it, “Sect of Vile Divinities” might just be the slowest Incantation record to date. Still, it loses nothing of its brutal heaviness. It is an album by a band that has learned all the lessons along the way. They know how to portray the images they want portrayed. Incantation uses all the experience gained towards achieving the goal. And once again, they are highly successful at it.