Incantation – Dirges of Elysium (Listenable Records)Tuesday, 27th May 2014
Let’s be blunt from the get-go: there isn’t going to be another Mortal Throne of Nazarene or Onward to Golgotha. With the current crop of cave-dwelling death metal practitioners doing their best to out-Incantation everyone else with that evil, doomy death metal lurch and occasional explosive outpourings of speed, death metal has become more subterranean than ever before. Mortal Throne and Onward are bona fide classics and Incantation has continued to pump out first-rate death metal ever since. Dirges of Elysium is no exception to this.
The first noticeable difference about Dirges is the sheer amount of aggression coming forth from it. Sure, the classic Incantation doom/death crawls are in full effect here (and arguably stronger than some previous offerings) in “From a Glacial Womb” and “Portal Consecration,” but some tracks feel as if someone truly lit a fire under their collective rears. “Impalement of Divinity” and “Debauchery” sound like a much more pissed-off and in your face Incantation. “Bastion of a Plague Soul” tops all of these with its bust open the doors and take no prisoners approach (though they do squeeze in a nice melodic lead in there). Speaking of which, the upfront bass work at the end of “Charnel Grounds” is also a nice touch to round out the track.
Not to ignore the dirges of an Incantation album (hence the name), “Carrion Prophesy” has to be one of the stronger tracks the band has written in some time. The slow, churning riffs at the beginning of the song just ooze death metal. As the track slowly moves to a galloping pace, it surrounds itself in classic Incantation riffage and tone. It slows once more and then escalates towards the album’s most headbangable riff. It’s easy to see why this one was picked to be the first taste of the album as it’s sure to be a crowd-favorite.
While other bands of Incantation’s stature are okay with simply churning out another album every few years and resting on their laurels, Dirges of Elysium sounds like a band that is young and hungry. Sure, it’s not a radical change from what they have been doing (consistency is key) but the passion is still there. Dirges is pure death metal, with no frills, and equal parts funeral march and adrenaline rush.