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Incantation - Upon the Throne of Apocalypse (Reissue)

Upon the Throne of Apocalypse (Reissue)
by Martin Knap at 06 May 2019, 11:27 PM

Among the most iconic US Death Metal bands INCANTATION is one of the least accessible and therefore doesn’t have the notoriety of, say, CANNIBAL CORPSE or MORBID ANGEL, but anyone who’s not a total noob knows who they are and what they sound like. INCANTATION has also been an exceptionally influential band –influence, as is apparent from their case, not necessarily being proportionate to commercial success. I could namedrop a ton of bands that are influenced by INCANTATION, their punishing, murky sound has really set a trend in Death Metal that is coming out in recent years – I personally think that their influence can’t be underestimated. INCANTATION were an innovative band because they showed – together with AUTOPSY and other early Death/Doom bands – that extreme music doesn’t have to be single-mindedly obsessed with speed. Slowing things down or throwing in a punchy groove can add more bite and brutality to the music.

Upon the Throne of Apocalypse” is a reissue of INCANTATION’s third album, which in turn was a re-release of their second LP “Mortal Throne of Nazarene” (“MTON”). It is basically the same album with a rawer mix and reversed track order. I’m not going to expatiate on the decision to release the same album twice: the band didn’t like the production that their label Relapse Records wanted them to go with, so they released it with a rougher mix, and it goes really well with the kind of music that they play. I can’t say that I have a strong preference for either version – it’s not like the first one was super polished or sounded bad in any way. It’s neither here nor there to me. As for the album itself, it is a pretty damn strong release. It is the product of a band that is at the high point of their creativity from which, I should add, they never really fell off. Their songs are an epitome of how doomy Death Metal songs should be written: the slow parts have a gradual built; there blasting parts are explosive and there is always development in them too – they start off as punishingly evil but the band manages to take it up a notch to almost absurd levels; the songs also have groovy parts that can be ridiculously heavy, almost reminding me of Slam in some moments. The ratio of slow parts vz. fast parts is pretty even: the last song “Demonic Incarnate” (opener or “MTON”), for example, has a long doomy section sandwiched between two fast parts at the start and the end; the one long song on the album “Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity” has a waxing and waning intensity, also roughly 50:50 ratio of slow and fast. But then we also have the 0:53 minutes long “Blissful Bloodshower” – INCANTATION’s take on Grindcore.

To sum up, this album is great, some people will maybe prefer it to the “original”, some – like me – won’t really mind listening to either version. This re-issue will be interesting probably mainly for dedicated fans, but it you are new to INCANTATION and want to check them out you can’t go wrong with this one.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


4 Star Rating

1. Abolishment of Immaculate Serenity
2. Blissful Bloodshower
3. The Ibex Moon
4. Nocturnal Dominium
5. Essence Ablaze
6. Iconoclasm of Catholicism
7. Emaciated Holy Figure
8. Demonic Incarnate
Craig Pillard - Guitars, Vocals
Jim Roe - Drums
Dan Kamp - Bass
John McEntee – Guitars
Record Label: Relapse Records


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Edited 22 August 2019

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