The Infernal Storm (Relapse)
by Tim Den
Along with fellow New York contemporaries, Immolation, Incantation has, over the course of ten odd years, created a subgenre in the death metal world that’s become more influential than anyone ever expected. The so-called “New York style,” with its characteristic swirling guitar notes (that seem to pivot on only the most obscure notes of the fretboard), deeper-than-hell grunts, and atonal harmonies (that sound like the final scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark in which ghouls eat through every living creature in sight), has recently seen just as many copycat ripoffs as the Florida movement in the early ’90s. Metalcore bands like Zao, noisecore bands like Today Is The Day and Botch, and just about every other heavy band under the sun (ahem, the dark moon) seems to be taking the New York style tempo changes, eerie chord progressions, and apocalyptic/Satanic imagery as their own. Well, needless to say, there’s nothing better than the real thing. The heavily-anticipated new record from these ever-changing (personnel-wise) monsters of death metal is, as always, fear-inducing.
The Infernal Storm is cleaner and better-played than any of their previous efforts, and it retains the kind of morbid magic that the classics embodied. Session drummer Dave Culross (presently of Malevolent Creation, ex-Suffocation) brings the band’s machine gun attacks to the forefront with crisp accuracy, as every ride cymbal “ding” can be heard in the barrage of musical assaults. Band leader/lead guitarist John McEntee still packs the band with as much talent as he can get his hands on, as new guitarist/vocalist Mike Saez’s inhuman growl compliments his hellish riffs perfectly. Personally, I still think the debut, Onward to Golgotha, is Incantation’s best work, but The Infernal Storm is right up there with the death metal greats. If this is what numerous bands have been trying to sound like… they’re not even close.
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