Blood Incantation playing Saint Vitus on Valentine’s Day
Album opener "Slave Species of the Gods" dives headlong into gross riffs and blasts before switching up into a groove that feels more akin to Atheist albeit with a deeper and more cavernous growl. Blood Incantation have clearly studied their tech-death records and have internalized well one of the great lessons that for a stretch was lost on certain bands of the subgenre: the necessity for an amount of rawness to give some toothsomeness and some meat to riffs that are otherwise designed to be extreme metal calculus. There is no shortage of grooves or variations on riffs here, with brief passages even resembling the modern and itself more tech-leaning era of Cannibal Corpse from about the turn of the century forward.
Second track "The Giza Power Plant" draws the most from Morbid Angel and early Gorguts, feeling deeply at home with that world of extended techniques married to impossibly nasty grooves. Blood Incantation produce an atmospheric death metal that achieves itself not via synth patches a la Nocturnus or grinding post-metal a la Ulcerate but instead on a precisely balanced amount of reverb, riffs that open up for some air the precise right amount to let that reverb make the notes swell. The band's separate existence of sorts as Spectral Voice is most clearly shown on this song, the slower pace and intense focus on production for that death-doom project clearly teaching them valuable lessons about producing atmospherics that don't devolve into self-parody.
"Inner Paths (To Outer Space)" is, in brief, death metal by way of Rush including a riff that feels almost directly plucked from Lifeson's guitar during the writing of Hemispheres, a classic move in the annals of progressive and technical extreme metal and one that once more works wonders. It is strange, of course, that this wasn't the album opener, given the way the ending of "The Giza Power Plant" segueing into the opening of this track produces several unbroken minutes of mellower mood whereas opening the record here would provide a gentler ramp upward. The intent, pacing-wise, seems to be to use this track as an instrumental palette cleanser before the epic 18-minute album closer, and insofar as it creates that separation and functions as a kind of psychic reset before that more comprehensive ode to the deep influence of Rush's late 1970s work within death metal. Likewise, placing it next to a track that can quite admirably be called a deliberate parallel to "Cygnus X-1" does at least keep the record more tightly bound, like to like.
Blood Incantation released the most talked-about metal album of the year with last week's Hidden History of the Human Race, which has already been named Decibel's #1 album of 2019. We love it too (that's an excerpt of Langdon Hickman's review for Invisible Oranges) above, so we're happy to learn the Denver band is coming back to Brooklyn for a show at Saint Vitus on Valentine's Day (2/14). With Dysrhythmia and Artificial Brain on the bill too, it's the perfect place to take that special someone. Tickets are on sale now.
No other North American Blood Incantation dates announced at the moment that we're aware of, but as recently mentioned, they played their last show of 2019 in their hometown of Denver over the weekend, and they were recently announced on the lineup of Copenhell, a festival in Denmark that happens June 17-20, 2020 with Kiss, Opeth, Gatecreeper, Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Korn, Emperor, High Command, Down, Crypt Sermon, and many more.
UPDATE: Guitarist Paul Riedl tells us the Saint Vitus show is their only East Coast show planned for 2020. "Depending on schedules we may be able to do one or two more one-off dates throughout the year, but we are not touring the US at all. In addition to the NY dates we have one West Coast appearance in May. After that, Euro demons only," he says.
Stream the new album below: