There hasn’t been many releases of late that have really caught my attention, particularly in the extreme metal realm. The last extreme album that I fully enjoyed was Moonsorrow‘s latest record, which was more of an atmospheric trip rather than what we tend to qualify as “extreme” of late, what with the fast and heaviness of death metal, hardcore and its offshoots. But here we are with American death metal band Blood Incantation‘s debut full length album, Starspawn.
With numerous releases in just 5 years under their belts, Blood Incantation hails from one of my favourite labels, none other than Dark Descent Records, which usually already signifies a good thing. And in typical Dark Descent Records fashion, one instinctively knows what to expect the moment the “play” button is pressed. Blood Incantation spares no mercy in unleashing their craft unto listeners. The riffs from the start of Vitrification of Blood (Part 1) immediately buries the listener under a wall of sound, and the crushing intensity and suffocating atmosphere that the band creates quickly reminds one of the works of NYDM masters Incantation, or the Steve Tucker-era of Morbid Angel.
At the same time there is some weirdness going on, not only in the sudden change of pace on longer tracks like Vitrification of Blood (Part 1) or Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood Part 2), but also in the dissonance in the playing of Paul and Morris. The distinctive lead guitar works throughout the album help to bring about comparison to the weirder, somewhat more experimental works of Demilich, Gorguts or even Ulcerate. This rings especially true for tracks like Chaoplasm, though things sound a lot more primitive here.
While discussing with a friend about recent releases that really left a mark, the topic of Blood Incantation came about, and it was casually mentioned that they have created quite a stir in underground death metal. With a release like Starspawn, this is hardly surprising. Fans of old school death metal with a touch of experimentation will find Starspawn a pleasant break from the monotony that death metal revivalist releases of late.