Reviewed: October 2004
Released: 2004, Olympic Recordings
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”
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