Incantation
Sect of Vile Divinities

Incantation return with their 11th full length album, yes other than track order, Mortal Throne of Nazarene and Upon the Throne of Apocalypse is the same album except for the changed track order and different album cover.  I do digress for a moment – Relapse put out a stunning remaster of Throne… with a bonus live DVD-it’s a must have.

A few things to bring up about this great band who have been around for over 3 decades.  When Onward to Golgotha was released I picked it up the first day in 1992.  My first time seeing them live the tour package was Vital Remains and Autopsy, as the headliners for the Acts of the Unspeakable tour.  Incantation were awesome and I was bummed there was only like 20 people at the Long Island, NY show.  I spoke to John McEntee and he was bummed too.  I remember him telling me if the turnouts were going to be that bad he was unsure if they or the tour could continue.  I would follow them closely through the years and when I joined Internal Bleeding in 1994 – being in touch with the band, on a different level was awesome.  A personal highlight was being on the same bill as them for the Ohio Deathfest and it was awesome.

Incantation are the creators of dark cavernous death metal – a type of genre with many bands trying to emulate Incantation – and some do an amazing job and some even poaching part of Incantation’s name to be their band name.  This is a type of death metal that if not well constructed or if the production is off , will come out sounding like a wall of noise.  Incantation, with so many albums out, well they’re all great, some better than others and 2002’s Blasphemy was a bit disjointed and suffered from a poor production.  Over the last several releases Incantation have had clearer productions and while some d-bags out there would say the band was not what they once were – I felt it enhanced the band’s doomy brutality, making those dark swirling cavernous/evil riffs come to the forefront even more so. Sect of Vile Divinities is the best produced Incantation album and my dark lord this album crushes beyond belief.

Coming out of the starting gates to punish your chest even more than Ivan Putski’s “Polish Hammer”, “Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky Is One)”, starts with a vintage 90’s death metal beat, with the opening guitar riff.  The song begins to pick up pace to a quicker speed and John’s vocals sounding as evil as ever and Kyle Severn is pounding the living hell out of his drums.  At around the 1.50 mark the signature doomy Incantation part, equipped with pinch harmonics comes wafting through your speakers ready to rip your head off, and Sonny Lombardozzi offering up some tasty guitar solos.

“Entrails of the Hag Queen” is a highlight in this 12 song 45 minute bombardment of brutality.  Starting off fast then right into the doomy slow part.  The isolated guitar part is excellent – with that better production, the riff comes through even more so as John’s throaty vocals are carving demonic symbols all over your emaciated body.  The song gets doomier and the guitar melodies at the 3.50 part create a very eerie atmosphere.

“Scribes of the Stygian” is another personal favorite with that opening guitar melody and then the soft drumming coming in.  But before you hold up your light…I mean your smartphone flashlight – the buildup of the drums start with a monstrous drum pattern and the rhythm section is gelling so ferocious at this point.  The rumbling heaviness is dense and depressive.  The bass guitar of Chuck Sherwood is phenomenal.  I love that the bass guitar mix gets much love on this album and it adds an extra layer of heaviness – if you can believe that.  This song shines through and through and as I am taking a breath and trying to shake off the fog and permeating bone-dense heaviness.

And then “Unborn Ambrosia”, the longest track – at 6 minutes, comes in and rips off your face faster than The Iron Sheiks’s “Camel Clutch” decapitating Bob Backlund!!  Yes, this is my Anatomy of a Song highlight for one of this year’s best songs.  Starting with a doomy, rumbling heaviness and John delivering some putrid vocals and then the isolated bass guitar over the drum parts is beyond evil, catchy and the rhythm sections’ finest moment on the record.  More awesome guitar melodies and then the guitar soloing over the faster part, comes in abruptly – which is how you do a fast part in this type of death metal.  The music slows down with Kyle, doing an almost “Raining Blood”, opening drum homage and then into the heaviness and that isolated bass guitar moment comes back and John letting out a nice growl.  Then back into that rumbling tank-like heaviness, strictly bent on delivering the most horrific prophecies to mankind.  One of Incantation’s finest songs.

Sect of Vile Divinities is a top 5 Incantation album for me.  Being able to craft such heavy, depressive, doomy music and making it catchy – well this is just a testament to their ability as seasoned song writers who are true musical craftsman!  The album cover is awesome with the demon’s and blasphemous creations all swirling about in the teal color which dominates the cover, it’s great.  As previously mentioned this is Incantation’s best produced album – the drums hit harder than ever with the best drum sound the band has achieved.  The guitars have a biting heaviness and the production brings out those riffs more to go alongside the excellent bass guitar tone.

Often imitated – but still never duplicated Incantation are back to give a middle finger to Covid and all the scene stealing Lysol wipes mofos out there.  I am hoping in 2021 the band does a USA tour.  I see they have a European tour planned in several months – so I hope they are safe.  Sect of Vile Divinities is one of this year’s finest death metal albums.  Such a kick-ass album.  Buy or Die!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
August 31st, 2020

Comments

  1. Commented by: Sean Carr

    Great read and funny as well. Good job, sir!


  2. Commented by: J. Mays

    I must admit that clean production caught me way off guard, but it works. Great album and review!


  3. Commented by: F. Rini

    Thank you both for reading and the support. I can’t stop listening to this album.


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