Incinerate — Sacrilegivm (Comatose Music)

Friday, 9th October 2020
Rating: 7/10

Longstanding Minnesota brutal technical death metal quintet, Incinerate, has been unleashing violent aural assaults on its dedicated fan base for over two decades. Formed in 1998, founder/vocalist Jesse Watson, bassist Sasha Wilczynski (Gorgasm), guitarists Ted Isac and Jared Deaver (Deeds of Flesh), and drummer Phil Cancilla (ex-Malevolent Creation) crank out classic and traditional death metal on its long-awaited fourth full-length album, Sacrilegivm (released Oct. 9, 2020) — its first album since 2015’s Eradicating Terrestrial Species.

On Sacrilegivm, Incinerate delivers 11 tracks of relentless brutality with technical complexity and unforgiving aggression in the vein of veteran death metal stalwarts such as Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel and Immolation. Sacrilegivm is concept album based on the central theme of the creation of heaven, earth, angels and Lucifer, as depicted with the awesome album cover art created by prolific death metal artist John Zig (Pathology, Vile, Deeds of Flesh). Due to different geographic locations of individual band members and social distancing due to COVID-19, the album was recorded and engineered at several different studios. Mixed and mastered by the renowned Juan Urtega at Trident Studios, he achieves a brutal and crushing tone throughout its 41 minute runtime.

From the get-go on album opener “Lux in Tenebris” (which translates to “Light in Darkness” in Latin), Incinerate are in full-attack mode by delivering punishing blast beats, furious riffing and vicious, guttural growls. Watson changes pitch slightly throughout the record with a combination of mostly low gutturals mixed with harsh, mid-ranged barks where he doesn’t sound so monotone the entire time. Although I wish they were a bit more clearer and up front in the mix. In addition, drummer Cancilla is a vicious monster throughout the record, unleashing countless frenetic blast beats and ferocious double kick patterns at will.

However, there’s only so much relentless brutality one can take throughout an entire album. Almost every track is interchangeable, consisting of the same familiar structure with minimal tempo changes or melodic hooks — with the exception of “Lux in Tenebris”’s tremendous melodic guitar solo and album closer “A Lamentation to the Fallen,” which is an epic, one-plus minute melodic instrumental outré with swirling and emotive arpeggiated guitar leads. There are some nice melodic guitar harmonies injected throughout the album as well, most notably on “Trumpets of War” and “Fleeting Opulence,” which add a mesmerizing dynamic and keeps things interesting.

Although Incinerate have been fairly consistent musically throughout its 20-plus year career, they’re not quite up there with the biggies of the genre. In spite of a few minor gripes, Sacrilegivm is a crushing effort and will assure that Incinerate remain as one of the most brutal death metal bands in the underground.

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