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Incantation
Decimate Christendom
August 2004
Released: 2004, Listenable Records
Rating: 4.1/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

When I hear the much used description “New York styled Death Metal” nowadays, the very first thing that quite often pops up in my mind, is Incantation´s name. Even if the band is originally from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, they could rightfully be considered as one of the strongest innovators of that particular style in question. A style that is brutal, down-tuned, grinding Death Metal that as its own concept was later adopted to belong to the underground Death Metal scene of New York with bands like Suffocation, Mortician, Pyrexia, Baphomet, etc. leading the troops in this ´revolution´ as far as Death Metal coming from New York was concerned.



The band´s debut full-length album and true landmark release, ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA that was released on Relapse Records in 1992, is considered to be one of the most classic Death Metal albums by many and even if the band has gone through many line-up and label changes, their style has remained the same since those days. Incantation plays a ´no compromises´ kind of Death Metal, staying absolutely loyal, honest, and amazingly dedicated to their style which they have been doing since the band was formed in 1989. Either you have liked what they have previously done on their releases – or you haven´t understood them ever when you got your first opportunity to hear them due to their probably way ´too guttural, low-tuned and grinding´ Death Metal style. At least I openly and honestly confess that I´ve been digging Incantation since I got to hear the band´s self-titled 4-song demo first time in 1990.



DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM, Incantation´s sixth full-length studio album, introduces Incantation as a three-piece band. Gone is the band´s growler Mike Saez (ex-Deathrune) who handled all the vocal parts on the band´s previous album titled BLASPHEMY (released on Candlelight in 2002) and now John McEntee, the only original member left in the current line-up, took over the vocal duties on this new Incantation opus. As a single note, the last time the band was 3-piece band was six years ago when they recorded DIABOLICAL CONQUEST in 1998. On that album Daniel Corchado (ex-Cenotaph, The Chasm) bellowed his lungs out a in very unforgettable way that many of us will surely remember many years further since the album was released back in 1998. But so does John on the band´s latest 12-song offering, too. His utterly low-pitched, guttural growls with occasional hateful shrieks here and there, quite familiarly as a matter of speaking, bring Ross Dolan from Immolation to my mind at times which only has this strange tendency to twist my face into a happy and wide grin every time I hear him spitting his innards out on this record. As for the actual music on DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM, as expected, nothing has changed if you were honestly expecting some drastic changes in Incantation´s well-recognizable yet distinctive sound even if they have become 3-piece band. Lotsa doomy and mid-paced Death Metal elements, grinding and aggressive moments, dark harmonies and stuff is what Incantation has always been involving into their own savage, blasphemous and brutal Death Metal sound since the band started. Pretty much according to this very fact, they have still managed to keep all those aforementioned elements as a very important and essential core sound of Incantation. Actually, you just have to listen to 2-3 1st songs off from DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM in order to recognize that it really is Incantation that´s pushing their very own uncompromising boundaries of a sheer brutality and heaviness the same way they have always been doing on their other albums. There´s not much to be reported from that department, I guess. Incantation has truly trademarked their sound over the years that so many other Death Metal bands have shamelessly tried to plagiarize for their own sounds, some more or some less successfully.



Only times tend to change, but not Incantation. Not at least musically, so you gotta respect them for at least staying true to their roots. Nevertheless, DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM is a splendid start from Incantation on their new label, Listenable Records. It’s great to see them keeping the flame of blasphemy alive and burning... the one and only Incantation way!!
Track Listing

01. Decimate Christendom
02. Dying Divinity
03. Oath of Armageddon
04. Blaspheme the Sacraments
05. Merciless Tyranny
06. Horns of Eradication
07. Unholy Enpowerment of Righteous Deprivation
08. Thorns of Everlasting Persecution
09. No Paradise Awaits
10. Eternal Darkness Under Conquered Skies
11. Feeble Existence
12. Exiling Righteousness (bonus track)

Lineup

John McEntee – Vocals & guitar
Joe Lombard– Bass
Kyle Severn - Drums


Next review: » Incantation - Decimate Christendom
Previous review: » Inanimate Existence - A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement

Incantation
Decimate Christendom
October 2004
Released: 2004, Olympic Recordings
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Incantation have been pounding the pavement of death metal for a long time. Their first demo was released way back in 1989 and ONWARD TO GOLGOTHA, a pinnacle of 90s death metal, was released in 1992. Since then, a revolving door of members have come and gone from the band with Jon McEntee being the sole remaining original member. After 2002’s BLASPHEMY, McEntee was forced to take over on vocals as well as maintain lead guitar duties and DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM is his recording debut. As a vocalist, McEntee certainly fits the bill, but is nothing fabulous. His doomy/death riffs are the real highlight, though. Incantation remains true to their old school death roots on DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM as the sound is dense, dark and utterly hideous. Pro-Tools did not get anywhere near this record and it almost sounds like things were recorded in one take, warts and all, and that was just fine, thank you very much. No frills, no studio trickery…just good old-fashioned blasphemous death metal done well by a veteran band.



The title track is an uncompromising slab of evil that gets things underway in just the right fashion. “Blaspheme The Sacraments” is the standout track on the CD. It goes from unrelenting heaviness to slower, doom-filled passages then gears up for another breakneck run at the jugular. Joe Lombard’s bass is fabulous here as he captures the mood perfectly. Former Vital Remains/Acheron skinsman, Kyle Severn, hits the drums in a furious barrage of double bass that begins at 2:45 that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. As for the rest of the tracks, nothing really stood out. The songs merely exist and throttle the listener for 43 minutes, which is not a bad thing, but certainly not anything to make me reach for this CD on a regular basis, either. Two instrumentals are found here: “Unholy Empowerment of Righteous Deprivation” and “Eternal Darkness Under Conquered Skies.” The former is a minute of droning atmospheric feedback that, despite its brief length, is a test of the patience (hence the title, I suppose), while the latter is a slow, full band offering. What makes them interesting is the placement in the running order of the CD. Usually an instrumental will act as a bookend or be somewhere in the middle to allow the listener to take a breather. Not so here. The final track, “Feeble Existence,” begins quiet and then seems to fade in as if the engineer slowly turned the volume level up for some reason. I would be curious to read the band’s reason for breaking protocol on the instrumentals issue and just what the deal is with the fade in, too.



DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM is not an outstanding album by any means. The playing is good, the songs are good and the band clearly knows how to piss off the Christians. For fans of raw, unrelenting death metal with nods to old school and doom, it might be worth checking out this CD.



KILLER KUTS: “Decimate Christendom,” “Blaspheme The Sacraments”
Track Listing

1. Decimate Christendom
2. Dying Divinity
3. Oath of Armageddon
4. Blaspheme The Sacraments
5. Merciless Tyranny
6. Horns of Eradication
7. Unholy Empowerment of Righteous Deprivation (Instrumental)
8. Thorns of Everlasting Persecution
9. No Paradise Awaits
10. Eternal Darkness Under Conquered Skies (Instrumental)
11. Feeble Existence

Lineup

John McEntee—Vocals/Guitar
Joe Lombard—Bass
Kyle Severn—Drums


Next review: » Incantation - Decimate Christendom
Previous review: » Inanimate Existence - A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement

Incantation
Decimate Christendom
November 2004
Released: 2004, Century Media Records
Rating: 3.1/5
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos

Incantation does what they do very well. I think of them as one of those indefatigable “workhorse” bands that pumps out another solid album year after year, without materially changing their style, their focus or their place in the metal world. Metal doesn’t have as many of these kinds of bands as it used to. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is debatable in the scene, but from my perspective it appears to be a fact.



What can I tell you about DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM that you probably don’t already know just from seeing that it’s a new Incantation release? Aside from what isn’t going on here—they haven’t sold out, they haven’t cut their hair or gone pop or mallcore, and they haven’t deviated substantially from their previous body of work—I don’t know that I need to give Incantation fans another reason to buy this disc. Conversely, if you’re not already a fan, I seriously doubt DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM will turn you into one. From the first track (the title track), on through the remainder of the album, each track drips with crunchy guitars, rage-filled Cookie Monster vocals, and the barest hint of a doom metal sensibility. I love doom, and I think Incantation are at their best when they’re bringing it out well, so my favorite tracks were “Oath of Armageddon” and “Horns of Eradication,” the latter so relentlessly punishing—yet strangely slow—that it stands out (for me) as the highlight of the album. On several tracks, such as “Thorns of Everlasting Persecution,” I detected the same blistering “math-metal” shred that Nile mixed so successfully with an Egyptian theme. It’s all very solid stuff, but you know what you’re getting from beginning to end.



There’s not a lot of innovation here, and I don’t suspect there was intended to be. DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM will not be remembered as a landmark album or some kind of apogee in the history of death metal, or even of the band’s discography, probably. But it won’t detract from their prestige either. This gets back to what I was saying about Incantation being a “workhorse” band. They set their sights on making a good album, and remaining true to the longtime fans and their own past material. They have succeeded brilliantly. If your expectations are in line with the band’s, I’m sure you will judge DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM a success.
Track Listing

1. Decimate Christendom
2. Dying Divinity
3. Oath of Armageddon
4. Blaspheme the Sacraments
5. Merciless Tyranny
6. Horns of Eradication
7. Unholy Empowerment of Righteous Deprivation
8. Thorns of Everlasting Persecution
9. No Paradise Awaits
10. Eternal Darkness Under Conquered Skies
11. Feeble Existence

Lineup

John McEntee – guitar/vocals
Joe Lombard – bass
Kyle Severn – drums

Contact

N/A


Next review: » Incantation - Primordial Domination
Previous review: » Inanimate Existence - A Never-Ending Cycle of Atonement





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