Just last year, a certain German band made a pretty solid run at the Tech-Death crown with their deliciously proggy third full-length "Omnivium." This band is, of course, OBSCURA, who, not two years previous, were catapulted into the upper ranks of the Tech-Death world with their second album “Cosmogenesis.” The sudden asscention of OBSCURA could arguably be put down to the addition of guitarist extraordinaire Christian Muenzner, whose unrivalled chops helped define what is arguably the landmark Tech-Death release of the new millennium; NECROPHAGIST’s second (and seemingly last) effort, the phenomenal "Epitaph." They were also arguably pipped at the post by FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE’s more fierce and chaotic "Agony," but they had a decent go at it. Cut to present day, where Menuzner has regrouped with the more brutal SPAWN OF POSSESSION to once again have a go at the title.
On some level it would seem the band have succeeded in making a claim to the Tech-Death throne. From beginning to end, “Incurso” is an absolute beast and puts many more established Tech-Death bands to shame. Each track transgresses seemingly infinite territory, while still remaining wholly coherent. Menuzner is in full form on this one; his performance, as well as that of the rest of the band’s, is, even by modern standards, technically astounding.
Given all this, it is then surprising that, as a whole, “Incurso” just doesn’t seem to “click” with me. There’s nothing in particular that is off-putting or unenjoyable. My one complaint is perhaps that Dennis Rondum, in his first appearance out from behind the kit, delivers a vocal that is certainly competent but also certainly no more than that, and that his stock Death Metal grunt perhaps detracts somewhat, failing to really draw the music to the level that it deserves. It could be simply that my judgment is tainted by the more melodic, genre-stretching take on the style, currently on offer from GOROD (to which I am much more receptive).
Yet it seems that by being overly competent in every area “Incurso” fails to excel in any; adding up to something less than the sum of its parts would seem to entail. There’s a BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME style density to the songs, but lacking any of the hooks or memorability that sustains that band. By cramming every single aspect of their sound into each and every song, SPAWN OF POSSESSION don’t allow for any definition amongst the tracks, effectively burying brilliant passages and sections amidst their incessant Tech Teath aesthetic, rather than building the songs around them. “Incurso” is a lot to take on all at once, and without more relaxed or redeeming moments to hook onto it can become quite overbearing. It could be that the first two songs are overly bland, but even “Incurso”’s better tunes are so inflated that they quickly give way to disinterest; paying attention throughout the entire nine-minute-plus running length of the initially brilliant “The Evangelist” is quite the challenge. It is my feeling that, had some of the fat been trimmed, and the efficiency of the songs streamlined a little, “Incurso” would have been so much more.
(Online March 19, 2012)