Review by Fernando on August 15, 2023.
Incantation at this point needs no introduction. They’re the forefathers of both death-doom and cavernous death metal, as well as a major influence to current underground death cult Dead Congregation and for the last three decades they have managed to remain a consistent and steadfast act, with guitarist and vocalist John McEntee being able to keep this blasphemous train going in spite of a rotating door policy lineup. And today we have their 13th studio album Unholy Deification.
Given that Incantation’s long standing in the world of death metal, it goes without saying that the band have pretty much perfected their sound and have consistently leaned into their strengths ever since John McEntee took over vocal duties, however, the band have also had some interesting deviations over the years. For Unholy Deification, the band have decided to continue the path of their previous record Sect Of Vile Divinities, as this album is a rager from beginning to end with songs that are perfect for the mosh pit, but without missing that trademark Incantation blasphemous crunch.
A major improvement is the production and while most Incantation diehards would argue the band sounded best in their early years with a gritty production and cavernous sound, after hearing this record, I don’t think having a cavernous production would’ve benefited it, at least not in practice. The band still play as heavy and intensely as ever and sonically this album is much heavier than the last record. They really lean into both the fast and the slow breakdowns to make the record as brutal as possible, quite possibly in response to how the last two records have followed more or less the same formula actually. The production really helps here, since being able to hear every instrument clearly adds much more heft into the songs, plus John McEntee also brought some really tasteful thrash-y riffs and licks that are reminiscent of his old band Revenant, and having his former band mate Henry Veggian really helps in that regard.
That being said, Incantation have been at it for so long that while the album is enjoyable and is a much stronger offering than the previous record, this is still an Incantation record, which isn’t bad at all, but if you know what you’re getting into, then nothing will truly surprise you, but regardless, this is still the band playing and performing at their peak and with some very welcomed guests like Jeff Becerra, the already mentioned Henry Veggian and Morbid Angel shredder Dan Vadim Von, and all alongside the band make the whole album a worthwhile experience.
Overall, Incantation still does what they do best, pummeling and blasphemous death metal, with another solid entry into their catalog, while I would like to see them experiment a bit more, if the formula ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Best tracks: ‘Homunculus (Spirit Made Flesh) IX’, ‘Invocation (Chthonic Merge) X’, ‘Altar (Unify in Carnage) V’
Rating: 8 out of 10588