Incantation – Profane Nexus (Relapse)

Monday, 7th August 2017
Rating: 8/10

Making their return to Relapse Records, Incantation isn’t really a band that needs a good introduction. Particularly with the last few years, and the significant uptick of bands that attempt to emulate their blasphemous, subterranean vibe that they designed back in the early 1990s. As the band’s eleventh album, Profane Nexus isn’t out to provide fresh twists and turns as it is another example that further cements the band’s legacy.

Much like their last album, Dirges of Elysium, Profane Nexus works best with Incantation doing what they do best, and in the way they want to do it. They aren’t trying to ‘out-Incantation’ all of the legions of sound-alikes by dipping as deep into the cavernous abyss. Instead, they plod ahead with a solid foundation of death and doom. The explosive blasts and frantic speed (complete with those noticeable pitch harmonics) still have their sacred place (“Xipe Totec” is a ripper), but some of the blistering pace of the previous album has been toned down in favor of more intensive song dynamics. “The Horns of Gefrin” focuses on some near-hypnotic riffing and “Messiah Nostrum” lets out some fiery carnage but finds balance with churning, dirge-y riffs to round things out. Longer cuts like “Ancients Arise” and “Visceral Hexahedron” have that vintage Incantation tone and flow about that them that portrays a true feeling of evil without having to completely tank the production.

Indeed, that’s what it’s all about – eliciting that classic feeling without like a retread. Just because you are a veteran act doesn’t mean you can put out a subpar product. John McEntee and company understand this, and that’s what gives Profane Nexus its strongest footing. Everything that you could want from an Incantation album is here, and it feels just as fresh (or would the proper term be rotten in this case?) as the rest of their discography. Accept no imitations or substitutes.

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