Album: Sect of Vile Divinities
Label: Relapse Records
Genre: Death Metal
Country: United States
Release Date: August 21, 2020
For Fans Of: Immolation, Autopsy, Morbid Angel
The “legendary” adjective is a descriptor that is used loosely and, more times than not, is placed on a band that has simply existed for a long period of time without having a true impact on the future of it’s genre. This is not the case with Incantation as direct descendants of the bands style can be seen throughout the death metal scene today. Bands like Tomb Mold, Gatecreeper and Blood Incantation proudly wear the Incantation influence on their sleeves and the band is often cited as being a progenitor of the sound that is popular in the underground today. In addition to their influence, Incantation’s debut Onward to Golgotha can be found in just about every credible list of greatest death metal albums of all time.
Formed in 1989, Incantation has had only one stable member, riff master and vocalist John McEntee, who has been the mastermind behind the band since the beginning. Utilizing erratic tempo changes and fantastic riffs, McEntee has crafted a sound that is unique to Incantation. The band has remained prolific throughout its career, releasing albums and EPs consistently and never straying too far from the tried and true Incantation sound. However, no band is flawless. Incantation had a string of albums during the 2000’s that, while never terrible, left a lot to be desired and often bordered on the boring side. In 2012, the band released Vanquish in Vengeance, which saw a rejuvenated band and created the modern era of Incantation, which continues to provide fans with quality albums. Sect of Vile Divinities, released via Relapse Records, marks the 12th studio album released by the band and the first since 2017’s highly acclaimed Profane Nexus.
Sect of Vile Divinities, continues the trend of quality Incantation releases. The album doesn’t break any new ground for the band but fits comfortably in the pocket that McEntee has created and I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way. The riffing throughout the album is incredible and Sect of Vile Divinities showcases some of the best drumming on a death metal album that I have heard all year courtesy of Kyle Severn. From the opening track to the closer, the album is pummeling and does not let up. The ability to slow down and speed up is not unique to Incantation, however, they might be the best at it in the death metal realm (no offense to Asphyx and Autopsy fans). Sect it erratic and changes speeds on a dime, but it never feels jarring or forced, McEntee continues to prove that tempo can be whatever he needs it to be and the songs are better because of it.
Sect of Vile Divinities, while a very good Incantation album, fails to reach the level of a great album. This unfortunately is due to the lack of growth from the last few albums, while not necessarily a bad thing, it also does not allow this album to separate itself from the pack and holds it back a bit. Even from song to song the album often blends together and it is difficult to tell when one track ends and the next begins. Every song is solid but they are interchangeable and nothing truly stands out, except Entrails of the Hag Queen, that shit rips.
Overall, Sect of Vile Divinities continues a path of quality albums by a legendary band. This is going to be an album that pleases long time fans, but the new Onward to Golgotha, it is not. As a long time fan of Incantation I thoroughly enjoyed this album. Quality death metal is a young bands game at this point but Incantation isn’t ready to pass the torch to the youngsters quite yet and they have proven it with this latest release. It wont change the game but it is an alum that is comfortable being exactly what it needs to be and in an extremely uncomfortable year being able to find solace in an old friend sounds pretty fucking good to me.
Rating: 8 / 10
- Ritual Impurity (Seven of the Sky Is One)
- Entrails of the Hag Queen
- Guardians from the Primeval
- Black Fathom’s Fire
- Ignis Fatuus
- Chant of Formless Dread
- Shadow-Blade Masters of Tempest and Maelstrom
- Scribes of the Stygian
- Unborn Ambrosia
- Fury’s Manifesto
- Siege Hive
Total Playing Time: 45:42