Incantation- Dirges of Elysium (Listenable Records)

This album is exactly what death metal needs: powerful riffs, dark atmosphere and palpable malfeasance.
Release Date: 
30 May 2014 (All day)

Incantation is a band that has an instantly recognisable sound and style. And on this release, they deliver pummelling examples of the Incantation song book. I have read other reviews of this album that have the words ‘slower’ and ‘doom filled’ peppered throughout. I’m not sure if these reviewers are familiar with Incantation, but I feel they have missed it completely.

Yes, Incantation do have slower passages, heck, even epic songs that wring the life out of the riffs. This is one of the reasons I like them, and why they are one of the most important bands in death metal. But they also turn on the speed, and Dirges Of Elysium has plenty of ferocious moments.

The album opens up with the ominous soundscape of the title track Dirges Of Elysium. This track builds the atmosphere of the album, and if you take notice, the closing track Elysium (and epic song of over 13 minutes) fades out in a similar manner, making for an effect of and endless cycle.

Debauchery then kicks in, and lets you know that Incantation have arrived! The vocals of the immortal John McEntee on this album are the deepest I’ve heard him do! It does cause flash backs to the original vocalist/guitarist Craig Pillard from the Onward to Golgotha, Mortal Throne Of Nazarene/Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse and Forsaken Mourning Of Angelic Anguish albums.

His guitar work, including the solos he throws in with bestial force, is trademark. As on all Incantation albums, there are some great moments with the two guitars playing separate parts, one a slow and methodical section, another faster, more technical part. Then the two sections collide to usher in a timing change or new song passage.

Some of the songs feature guitarist Alex Bouks, who appeared on the previous Vanquish In Vengeance album. And in keeping with Incantation history of a rotating band roster, new member Sonny Lombardozzi (who has played live with Incantation previously), shreds on the rest of this diabolical record.

From A Glaciate Womb is a killer track, and shows both ends of Incantations song writing skills. It starts off with a neck ripping (and Morticianesque) riff, and builds to a quick tempo change that jolts you into reality. The bass of Chuck Sherwood (who has written most of the lyrics on this album), twangs away in the subterranean realms. My only gripe, if it really matters, is that the bass is a tad quiet on this album, but it bursts through when it matters.

The drumming of Kyle Severn, in my opinion, has always been above par, and this album is no different. On this recording, he is well up in the mix, as he drives the songs forwards. On Carrion Prophesy his double bass work is beyond reproach.

This album is a must have for all Incantation fans, and for lovers of stripped back, no hold barred, death metal.