Incantation – “Profane Nexus” (Relapse Records)
New York’s legendary doom death gods Incantation rank up there with the best East Coast bands like Suffocation, Mortician and Immolation and its easy to see why on this stunning album! Formed in 1989, with 9 prior releases in their 28 years along with a solid history of touring both in the US and across Europe has established their name in the underground and will no doubt be cemented by this savage but suave 10th album. Founded by guitarist / vocalist John McEntee, the band has endured countless line up changes but seems to have solidified in recent years with the presence of Kyle Severn (Acheron) on drums and bassist Chuck Sherwood (Blood Storm). Compared to their peers, I wouldn’t say that Incantation are particularly technical (even though they can undoubtedly play) or necessarily going for that angle, but their albums are hugely atmospheric, although again not by using any keyboards or intended ambience. Rather, taking root from Chuck Schuldiner’s pioneering style, Incantation have added their own particularly grim and morbid doom tones into this stylish hybrid sound, resplendent with Sabbathy warblings, murderous class A death metal riffs, and when combined, creating a truly menacing vibe in their music. Equally, the use of different tempos from fast double bass drumming beats to slow grindola with plenty of reverb to really allow those blood letting riffs to soak into the skin adds even more bountifully to the macabre atmosphere, creating something epic n nasty! Topping it off are McEntee’s own hybrid vocals, sort’ve a mixture of rasping and guttural styles but never straying too far into either camp, and of course adding the black icing to 11 tracks delicious here, from ‘Visceral Hexahedron’ with its primitive, almost tribal drumming to the wailing Slayer-esque depravity of ‘Lus Sepulcri’ and the tad more melodic ‘Omens to the Altar of Onyx’ with its ultra heavy, chopping doom and diabolical riffola! Incantation are aptly named and undoubtedly masters at what they do – “Profane Nexus” only serves to prove that right yet again.