Dirges of Elysium

After a 6 year layoff, death metal legends Incantation returned in 2012 rather triumphantly with Vanquish in Vengeance, one of the  more successful reunion/ comebacks of the last few years. But how would the band respond after the comeback/reunion glow and excitement that often fogs objective reactions after long layoffs has faded and the band is left to simply be on musical merit alone?

Well, while Dirges of Elysium is certainly a solid album, it seems a bit of a step back from Vanquish. First off, the production is way too clean.  Even more so than Vanquish. Incantation’s trademark murk and rumble is now a relatively faceless and nameless guitar tone and production that could be any US death act really, there’s nothing that screams Incantation. It could be Autopsy, it could be Cannibal Corpse or any other death metal band.  Second, the album takes a little while to get going. Other than the Autopsy-ish crawl that litter “Carrion Prophecy”, four tracks in, there is little that really hits home in the albums early stages as there is more of a focus on  faceless and nameless, blasting generic death metal that matches the production,  be it the (pet peeve of mine) instrumental opening title track,  and forgetful duo of “Debauchery” or “Bastion of a Plagued Soul”.

But the fifth killer track, “From a Glaciate Womb”, a seeping, oozing 8 minute monster, where the album really settles in with a suffocation last couple of minutes that would make Chris Reifert  bloat and explode with joy. And while there is nothing quite as punishing as “Profound Loathing” from Vanquish, the album’s second half certainly amps up the more doomy, murky songs, even if the productions saps some of the filth from it. The squealing crawl of second standout “Portal Consecration”, the 6th track is unbelievably the first track where you can say  “Now THAT’S Incantation” with a tangible degree of certainly.

After a short muddy filler  in “Charnel Grounds”, the band return to more speedy territory with “Impalement of Divinity” ( is that a classic Incantation song title or what?), but is has a powerful mid song march and rumble before the short blast  and lurch of “Dominant Ethos”. But then things get really interesting- as with the eleven minute “Legion of Dis”, which closed out VanquishDirges of Elysium is ended with another vast track, in the 16 fucking minute ‘Elysium (Eternity is Nigh)” as it’s yet another massive crawling funeral doom paced number that could be on an Evoken or Ahab album. It picks up the pace a little in its mid section, but the catatonic crawl is persistent and an exhaustive listen, right up to the final heaving squeal and rumble.

This track  along with some of the other latter album standouts really save the album from it’s generic, rudimentary start and production and show Incantation are still back, if even Dead Congregation‘s latest might have stolen some of their thunder.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
June 16th, 2014


  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    So….Incantation is back and I was not told? I DEMAND revenge! *grin*

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