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Incantation: Diabolical Conquest

What can be said about Incantation that hasn't been said before? This shouldn't be taken as a personal knock so much as an affirmation of the band's commitment to gut-churning death metal. Despite the hints of melody and "catchiness" that some DM fans claim to hear in music like this (all in an attempt to justify their tastes to skeptical non-believers) the fact is that much of what makes this kind of extreme metal so attractive is it's very formlessness. It's so abstract and lacking in standard musical structure that you can listen to it a million times and still not quite get a handle on it. But there's just so much going on that it's hard to get bored with it, which can easily be the case with some types of ambient and new age.

For approximately half of this album Incantation are content to rage on at full blast, throwing one riff after another at your noise bludgeoned skull. Other tracks slow the tempo down somewhat, giving the putrid annals of their thought processes room to air out a bit. This is particularly true with the last track, the 17 minute+ "Unto Infinite Twilight/Majesty Of Infernal Damnation", a hideous deformity of twisted neurons and mangled guitar strings. Since the band's songwriting patterns seem to defy all conception of "theme" or "coherence" there's not much opportunity to scout highlights ("I like that pentatonic riff in E minor 3:37 into track 2"- yeah right). It's a hit or miss opportunity, and fans of this style will already know who they are.

In closing it's perhaps deserving of reiteration just how far out in left field this style of metal is. I think it tends to be taken for granted (or written off as sloppy, juvenile, etc) the avant garde, experimental nature embraced by bands of Incantation's artistic ilk. Whether or not they have an aesthetic vision grounded in well-versed music theory is irrelevant; many of the blues players whose innovations are the cornerstone of r-n-r stumbled upon their techniques through ignorance. I'm not by any means suggesting the Gump-like theory that ignorance is best, merely that it's often the educated who are the most apt to play it safe and preserve the status quo. Perhaps it's a theory better outlined in an editorial than an Incantation review, but Christ knows you'll need something sane to think about while listening to this album.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Hits: 4313
Language: english

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