Incantation – Sect of Vile Divinities (Relapse)

Thursday, 13th August 2020
Rating: 8.5/10

Ever the consistent bunch, Incantation have had a formula that’s been written in stone for decades at this point. Their sound is instantly identifiable, even if there are growing legions by the day that try to replicate what they do. When it comes to dirgy, doom-ridden death metal that feels oppressive and crushing – there’s only one Incantation. Something that Sect of Vile Divinities continues to be a flagbearer for.

Much like the band’s previous few releases, there’s a lot of aggression that seethes from Sect of Vile Divinities. “Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky is One)” is one of those blast-friendly numbers that the band have formulated so well – frantic death metal riffing, dizzying solos, and a crushing presence. “Fury’s Manifesto” and “Guardians from the Primeval” do a good job of reminding the listener of this throughout the album. But the band’s doomy crawls have just as much of their identity showcased too. “Propitiation” flexes some melodic tendencies as it builds up a little bit, but always slithering through murky tempos and the weight of “Ignis Fatuus” is gargantuan in its dirges. Of course, the band continues to mix it up within tracks as well for maximum enjoyment, and “Entrails of the Hag Queen” sits as one of the band’s strongest in recent memory, with moments of eruptive blasts and ferocity countered by lumbering and devastating doom tempos that invoke that cavernous, evil feeling that the band has long championed. Another standout, “Shadow-blade Masters of Tempest” has an eerie, melodic side to it despite some labyrinthine riffing and ominous sense of dread that pours forth from it. Its tracks like these that keep Incantation well above the ever-increasing numbers of bands that are trying to steal their cavernous thunder.

Still on top of their game, Incantation bring forth another consistently high quality effort in Sect of Vile Divinities. There’s simply no substitute for the dark, primal, and bleak sound that Incantation provides. They are the genuine blasphemous article when it comes to this stuff.

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