Vanquish in Vengeance

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I never really got Incantation or Immolation in the early 9os. I was obsessed with Swedish death metal and Cradle of Filth  and both bands murky, muddy styles never really sat well with me. Heck, the only Incantation album I own and have really heard is 2000s The Infernal Storm and that’s because I found it in a used bin. However, I recently got around to checking out Immolation‘s considerable back catalog and enjoyed it immensely in my older, wiser years. So with Incantation reformed and releasing a new album, it might be time to go back and check out this bands early releases, as I have to be honest, Vanquish in Vengeance is blowing me away.

Admittedly, it’s only cos of the slew of excellent Incantation influenced bands I’ve enjoyed (Desecresy, Dead Congregation, Binah, Gorephilia, Ignivomous, Corpsessed, Blaspherian, Father Befouled etc) and last years excellent Disma release that I even know about Incantation‘s, from what I hear, legendary sound, and to be honest, this album sat on my Ipod with no attention whatsoever for a few weeks. However, one of the tracks, “Profound Loathing” came on randomly , and I instantly went to the album to give it more attention.

I imagine it’s safe to say that most of you are familiar with the band’s sound and status, so rehashing both would seem redundant.  But suffice to say even with only vocalist/guitarist John McEntee being to only real original member along with drummer Kyle Severn who was in the band in the late 90s and 00s, it appears the band’s sound is relatively intact and even modernized a little to compete with today’s death metal.  The same churning, atonal backwards blasts and crawling doomy, cavernous segments appear to all be intact, and rendered with a punishing, cleaner production, which may alarm some purists.

And while the murky blasting is very well done and full of squeally off kilter riffs, where this iteration of Incantation shines, even more so than their early years is the slower, doomy passages. While they seem to have always been a part of Incantation‘s sound, on Vanquish to Vengeance, they take center stage and elevate the album to something far more impressive than dusty old school death metal. Case and point, the track that popped up, “Profound Loathing” is simply a monster of a track with 8 minutes of downright sick, crawling riffs and oozing, crawling sonic devastation- and the new shiny production makes them that much more powerful. Other such standout tracks include the second half of “Progeny of Tyranny”, the lurching “Transcend into Absolute Dissolution” and the feedback drenched, sickly Evoken styled crawl of  11 minute closer “Legion of Dis”.

Not that the other tracks like “Haruspex”, “The Hellions Genesis” or the awesome but too short title track  are chopped liver, as they still contain some element of filthy crawl that or the blasting parts are forgetful, its just that these oppressive, longer, slower songs really, really burrow into you and make it hard to breathe. For example the opening riff from the three minute “From Hollow Sands” is downright nasty, and could have filled a fuller song rather than tease twice in a 3 minute song. But that’s a really minor quibble with a remarkable comeback album after a 6 year layoff where McEntee has had to sit back and watch countless bands clone his sound and the style as a whole erupt into something huge.

There are going to be inevitable comparisons to Disma‘s output, and its no surprise that they are in the same ball park quality and sound wise considering the Craig Pillard link. Both are fantastic albums, but with Vanquish to Vengeance, Incantation have stormed back into death metal royalty, taken back some of their identity and delivered punishing message of resurgence to all the naysayers and copycats.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 10th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Guilliame
  2. Commented by: Kris Allred

    Nice review Erik…I got to say I’ve been reading your reviews for quite a few years now, and it suprised the hell out of me to read that you’ve never been into Incantation or Immolation…oh well better late than never, huh? I’m stoked to hear this, imo I don’t think they’ve ever put out a bad album. \m/

  3. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    Welcome back, Incantation. This album is heavy as God’s balls and sick as hell. Exactly what Incantation should be.

  4. Commented by: Luke_22

    I’ve never been a big Incantation fan either but this is pretty great stuff. The production is top notch and the doomy sections offer some of the best grooves of the year.

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