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Incinerate – Sacrilegivm

by Andrew Graham at 30 October 2020, 9:55 AM

On their fourth full-length album, “Sacrilegivm”, INCINERATE offer a masterclass in classic, brutal death metal in the vein of long-established acts like CANNIBAL CORPSE, SUFFOCATION, and MALEVOLENT CREATION. Anyone well-versed in this style will feel instantly at home, with enough subtle flairs of their own to add a dash of originality to this well-populated genre.

A few weeks ago, in my review of MAUL’S “Deity Demise” EP, I made a few comments about how I felt death metal has been a bit stale and overdone for some time. There are two ways to get around this. Firstly, through trying to do something a bit different or original with the genre; secondly by simply being an outstanding example of its type. Whilst I argued that MAUL fell largely into the former category, INCINERATE, the topic of today’s review, most definitely occupy the latter category.

From the very first moments, the listener knows exactly what they’re getting: brutal death metal in the very finest tradition. There’s no pretence or attempts to do anything clever (that’s not a gripe, honestly!) These gents quite simply are very good at what they do. After more than twenty years in the game, one would come to expect this. It is only unfortunate that the genre is so heavily populated. In earlier times it would well be feasible to imagine this band occupying the same status as the aforementioned death metal giants.

“Lux In Tenbris” opens the album with uncompromising intensity from the word go. The technical proficiency on display is immediately apparent and sets the bar high for the listener – and we are not disappointed! We also get our first hint that there are hidden micro-influences aplenty to be found – in the case of this opening track, there’s the odd blackened sound here and there that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to even the casual BEHEMOTH fan! “Cast Out and Condemned” displays many of the finest moments of instrumental expertise – with stunning drumming and bass on display in particular (and a mind-melting solo to boot!) “Trumpets of War” opens with a section that very strongly evokes Chuck Schuldiner’s most melodic tendencies. Indeed, the whole track feels like a love letter to DEATH, and it’s so lovingly constructed that you can hardly blame them for it!

“Thrown to the Fire” assaults the listener with an implausibly fast snare blast, recurring throughout (I heavily suspect shenanigans, possibly witchcraft or some Faustian pact with Satan himself!) “Holy Irreverence” continues the uninterrupted aural assault. No quarter is given or to be expected here, with “Fallen Is Your Kingdom” continuing this trend with riffage that reminds one of late CANNIBAL CORPSE (indeed they figure particularly heavily in influence). Three tracks later, “Absence of Divine Power” hits us with another piece of stunning riffage and drumming, that has strong DEICIDE feel about it (Glen would be proud!)

“Cenotaph of Celestial Corpses” leaves a powerful mark as a closing track, which closes as grandly as it opens before fading into almost sorrowful oblivion with “Lamentation to the Fallen”.  If there’s any weakness on display, it’s that to a point there’s a uniformity among the songs that means nothing really stands out. The whole spectacle is rather grand and impressive, but asides from the particularly tasty snippets I’ve mentioned there aren’t many especially memorable moments. However, they do manage to never relent in pace for a moment! Many albums feel like they burn out by about halfway through, but these gents manage to maintain momentum for the entire duration, which is deserving of respect.

The production on display is of a very good quality overall, however there is an issue here which is prevalent amongst a lot of releases in this style. The guitar tone is a little muddy, which, combined with the downtuning, causes many of the more intricate moments on display (and there are many!) to disappear beneath the brown waters of illegibility. A relatively small issue in the grand scheme of things, though my regular readers (if, indeed, there are any!) will have noticed my propensity to note minute details – a pedant through and through!

Nevertheless, everything on display here makes this a great album. It is a worthy addition on the shelf next door to other, more established entries in the brutal death metal canon. When the world returns to some sort of normality, I look forward immensely to witnessing this uncompromising auditory violence first-hand!

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

  1. Lux In Tenebris
  2. Cast Out and Condemned
  3. Trumpets of War
  4. Thrown to the Fire
  5. Holy Irreverence
  6. Fallen Is Your Kingdom
  7. Fleeting Opulence
  8. Inexorable
  9. Absence of Divine Power
  10. Cenotaph of Celestial Corpses
  11. Lamentation to the Fallen
Jesse Walton – Vocals
Sasha Wilczynski – Bass
Ted Isac – Guitar
Jared Deaver – Lead Guitar
Phil Cancilla – Drums
Record Label: Comatose Music


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