Incantation - Dirges of Elysium - (9.5/10)
Published on June 10, 2014
Experience epic death.
Incantation is the sort of death metal band rooted in years and years of musical output and influence on the genre that can’t really be contested. They have a legion of rabid fans and a legacy to upkeep. As a sort of disclaimer, Dirges of Elysium is my very first Incantation record and it’s very easy to see why their legacy is as big as it is if the rest of their discography is as good as this. Dirges of Elysium is grandiose in its heaviness, vicious in its brutality, and diverse in its writing. It’s the kind of death metal I would expect a band of this caliber to unleash upon its eager fans.
With the heavy riffing that kicks off the album on the opening title track instrumental and its slightly melodic tinges, it’s obvious that you’re going to be in for a dirty ride through Dirges of Elysium. Incantation then proceeds to push and pull with the rest of their writing, pummeling with ridiculously monstrous blast beats on “Bastion of a Plague Soul” and dooming it up with aptly heavy titled “From a Glaciate Womb.” This sort of diversity in the writing and tempo is what makes Dirges of Elysium the album experience that is becoming a rare commodity in heavy metal. The writing matches the experience of listening to the record.
From opening until close, Incantation sucks you in with intertwining riff and lead combos that inject a big doom atmosphere and then proceed to punch you in the gut with technical death metal velocity in drums and the deep guttural roar of the vocals. It’s a lethal combination. The performances are simply top notch. As a person that doesn’t find doom metal or anything of that pacing all that enjoyable, even I have listened to the album closer, an epic as hell 16-minute atmosphere driven track called “Elysium (Eternity is Nigh),” every time I spin the record. Incantation knocks it out of the park.
Partnered with perhaps one of the perfect death metal productions I’ve heard this year that’s just dirty and raw enough to keep the sound, but clean enough that you can hear everything, Dirges of Elysium is a well rounded and impressively executed record. The combination of tech death execution and mid-paced fist pumping anthems makes Dirges of Elysium one of the better death metal experiences I’ve had all year. It comes highly recommended!
I'm still digesting it. I definitely like it, but it's not hitting me like "Vanquish in Vengeance." I need more time to see where it really falls, but I'll be surprised if I agree with a 9.5. Still one of my absolute favorite bands.
Matt Reifschneider, you need to dig your way through their whole discography. Top notch death metal for their whole career.
I often refer to them as the most important active death metal band. Why? They found their formula, stuck with it only tweaking for each album. Also, you can still take "Onward to Golgotha," put it in 22 years later, and it's still fuckin' brutal as all hell. Even in the face of modern BDM.
Like I said, first time with Incantation and I couldn't have been more pleased. I definitely like the more aggressive material on this release, but the diversity between the slow trod and the beast made for quite the listening experience for me.
<—— admitted fanboy
Andrew 'Bear' Tyler I will always have a soft spot for "Decimate Christendom" as it was my first Incantation album, but I've yet to be disappointed with anything they've put out.
Shawn Miller Decimate Christendom was a "return to form" after the only album that ever disappointed me a little from them. It's not that I don't enjoy "Blasphemy," but I do (and it is widely) regard(ed) it as their "worst."