The unholy Death Metal battering ram INCANTATION has done a lot in their fifteen year career. Fourteen releases, countless miles on tours all around the globe and undoubtedly innumerable hours of hard work from all members of the band. While listening to their latest “Decimate Christendom” I get the feeling the band’s greatest achievement is still their work with other bands. They’ve offered the first opportunity for a lot of today’s top extreme acts to tour the USA with them. These bands include such behemoths as NILE, DECAPITATED, KATAKLYSM, ENSLAVED and KRISIUN as well as VEHEMENCE, PUNGENT STENCH, ABSU and Japan’s DEFILED. Now this is my first contact with the band so I can’t tell how good they have been before but what I’m hearing doesn’t really justify their title as “infamous Death Metal institution and pillar of the international underground Metal scene”. Nor does it make me believe they have once been the innovators of New York Death Metal style even though they might have been at the start of their career.
Why I’m saying this is because, to me, “Decimate Christendom” is an average brutal Death Metal slab with a few beacons of light (or in the case of these blasphemous fellows, darkness). For example “Merciless Tyranny” is an excellent piece of grinding Death Metal. Good riffs, solid drum work, mangling and to the point. The following track then is a lost cause. After it’s over I can’t really remember what it was like. The more I listen to the CD the more it gets from decent to tiring. And let’s face it, the album’s too lengthy. Before long the songs start to repeat themselves and all that’s left is a tiresome mass of grey matter. The likes of the pointless instrumentation at the end of “Feeble Existence” doesn’t help it either. Oh and what’s with the titles? Blasphemous for sure but still pretty corny. But I have to give them credit for being able to use the words “unholy” and “righteous” in the same track name.
The band’s new singer (Mike Saez took off after “Blasphemy”) John McEntee (also the guitarist – the band has been reduced to a trio), although evidently an adept guitarist isn’t that good a singer. I can’t even say what it is that bugs me about his voice. It’s just too average I guess. Other than that I can’t really say anything about the musicianship for the promo I got is an unmastered version of the CD. However, I hope the drums sound just as dry on the mastered version as they do on this one. They bring LAMB OF GOD’s “New American Gospel” to mind, which is a good thing, for the drums were one of the things I liked about “NAG” in the first place.
INCANTATION’s “Decimate Christendom” was a let-down for me. I expected something more from such a cult band and all I got was an average plate of blasphemous Death Metal. I’ve chewed it around and around but can’t get any taste out of it apart from a few tastier bits. There’s not even an aftertaste apart from the craving for some sweet juice. So I can only recommend this to fans of the band and those die-hard fans of Death Metal who’re out of any raw slabs of meat and have enough money to spend it on something you’ll probably only listen to a few times before putting it away to gather dust… (Online September 11, 2004)