A DME & MCD presentation by arrangement with Echelon Talent Agency:
Incantation 7th April 2024 Academy 2, Dublin Doors:7pm | 18+
Acclaimed veteran death metallers Incantation prepare the masses for their 13th album, Unholy Deification, via Relapse Records. Edified over three-plus decades of experience and validated by peers seasoned and new, Incantation are more vital than ever. The lineup, featuring founding member/guitarist/vocalist John McEntee, longtime drummer Kyle Severn, bassist/lyricist Chuck Sherwood, and guitarist Luke Shively, embodies pure death metal know-how and the power of determination. This si proven by new tracks “Concordat (The Pact) I,” “Homunculus (Spirit Made Flesh) IX,” and “Invocation (Chthonic Merge) X,” al of which feature Incantation’s trademark barbarism and astutely evil lyrics.
Acclaimed veteran death metallers Incantation prepare the masses for their 13th album, Unholy Deification, via Relapse Records. Edified over three-plus decades of experience and validated by peers seasoned and new, Incantation are more vital than ever. The lineup, featuring founding member/guitarist/vocalist John McEntee, longtime drummer Kyle Severn, bassist/lyricist Chuck Sherwood, and guitarist Luke Shively, embodies pure death metal know-how and the power of determination. This is proven by new tracks “Concordat (The Pact) I,” “Homunculus (Spirit Made Flesh) IX,” and “Invocation (Chthonic Merge) X,” al of which feature Incantation’s trademark barbarism and astutely evil lyrics.
While the band’s previous album Sect of Vile Divinities (2020), exhibited a sense of intended containment, McEntee wanted to focus on brutality and chaos with Unholy Deification. As he started writing, he immediately sensed greater aggression in the material. When the band (and a few friends) listened to his new compositions, they were impressed by the energy infused into the music. There’s still doom throughout the album’s ten tracks, but the prevailing musical themes at the time were fiendish auras and sheer aggression. Since its inception, Incantation has pushed boundaries. Unholy Deification is a (un)natural evolution of everything before it and crushes everything around it.
Incantation started in the urban jungle of New Jersey/New York in 1989. McEntee and former co-founder Paul Ledney (now Profanatica/Havohej) expressed death metal via simple maxims-brutality and depravity. Inspired by Possessed, Necrophagia, Celtic Frost, and many others, Incantation made a name for themselves throughout the Northeast. Debut EP, Entrantment of Evil (1991), and subsequent debut full-length Onward to Golgotha (1992) resonated strongly with and poisoned pervasively legions of impressionable minds regionally and eventually globally. Now spread across several states-North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania-Incantation hold fast to their reputation as a leading light of American death metal. Indeed, their significance endures in the collective cruelty of Unholy Deification.
tI must be said that the formation of Incantation was not driven by a desire to conform to or appease the genre’s then-established norms. Since their early days, McEntee stresses that Incantation’s driving force has been their unwavering desire to forge their own path, unencumbered by external expectations and constantly changing trends. Incantation’s commitment to self-expression and staying true to their musical ideals have remained unchanged throughout their evolution as a band. The quartet extend their traditionalist ethos on Unholy Deification.
Lyrically, Unholy Deification originated with Sherwood. An avid reader and occult logician, the Incantation bassist and storyteller wanted to capture a fully-realized concept of evolution through enlightenment. While he hasn’t strayed from the core values McEntee carved in proverbial flesh ages ago, Sherwood wanted readers to journey through thought-provoking, historically-derived intellection. That the mortal-to-deity narrative interacts with and is complemented by the merciless musical conflagration of opener, “Offerings (The Swarm) IV,” “Megaron (Sunken Chamber) VI,” and closer “Circle (Eye of Ascension) VII,” featuring guests Jeff Beccera (Possessed), Henry Veggian (ex-Revenant), and Dan Vadim Von (Morbid Angel), is totally death metal. While Inquisitive heshers might be inclined to reorder Unholy Deification by the Roman numerals affixed to each song title, Incantation assume no liability in the necromantic outcome.
Conceived and written by Sherwood, the concept of Unholy Deification encompasses ten chapters. The story is an apotheosis, essentially, in multiple stages, song by song, derived from ritual magic. Each chapter is pertinent to the overall concept and a journey for the listener along the stages of development from a mortal to a celestial. So, from summoning a spectral guide, banishments, and words of power, to appeasing elemental forces and sacrifice by a ritual circle on altars, utilising male and female qualities to produce a homunculus that will embody a deity. So, it’s graven, feared, worshipped, and ultimately a dominant force over all life and death. And being in stark contrast ethically to other known religions, Unholy Deification is essentially evil incarnate.
Like its immediate predecessors, Unholy Deification was recorded individually and assembled at Incantation Studios. The band tracked pieces of their new album over six months throughout the pandemic, but the entire process took almost two years. As a result, Incantation were able to reconsider, revise, and recast their villainous visions without the pressure of “burning the clock.” The production was handled by a host of band-centric ghouls, namely Shively at RazorHoof Studios, live drummer Charlie Koryn at The Underworld Studio, and engineer Matthew “Zilla” Draudt. Once hardened, Unholy Deification was handed off-like every Incantation since Vanquish in Vengeance (2012)—to storied ace Dan Swanö to mix and master at Unisound Studios (Massacre, Skeletal Remains). The ten-track oblation is Incantation’s best-sounding, band-conformant album to date. McEntee accurately describes it as “extremely heavy, highly aggressive, and impactful.”
Incantation’s sepulchral pandemonium is visually enhanced by award-winning artist and longstanding collaborator Eliran Kantor (Immolation, Bloodbath), with burgeoning illustrator Brja XI (Sacratus, Cavernus) also contributing. For Unholy Deification, the artists were given direction from Sherwood but leeway to interpret his chronicles of transubstantiation. The result is an interpretation of Italian Renaissance masters with noticeable thrusts into Incantation’s cauldron of chromatic malice. To support Unholy Deification’s inexorable onslaught, the band will unveil three videos in the shape of “Concordat (The Pact) I,” “Homunculus (Spirit Made Flesh) IX,” and “Invocation (Chthonic Merge) X.” If Incantation is life, then death is Incantation.
As Incantation turn the page on three-plus decades of diehard death metal, they see no reason to acquiesce to anything. McEntee has devoted a lifetime to brutality and blasphemy, so there’s no stopping now. With a reinvigorated lineup and accolades pouring in from their run-through of bellwether album Diabolical Conquest (1998) at Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Philly 2023, Incantation are positioned to dominate. From the caustic bombardment of “Offerings (The Swarm) IV” to the triturate exequies of closer “Circle (Eye of Ascension) VII,” Unholy Deification is death metal by masters at the height of their craft.
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