Death Metal Underground

Incantation – “Carrion Prophecy” from Dirges of Elysium

by Jon Wild
May 1, 2014 –

incantion-dirges_of_elysium

Foundational death metal band Incantation have released the first single off their upcoming album, Dirges of Elysium. Entitled “Carrion Prophecy,” the single showcases Incantation widening the extent of their genre limit and leaning in the direction of modernity’s post-death metal doom/sludge marketplace.

While half of the song creeps by in this fashion, which is far below the par of structural arrangement Incantation has demonstrated in the past, the track picks up whenever this riff fragment concludes. Here, the band plays more to the level of their ability of merging torrential bursts of arpeggiation alongside their unique rhythmic signature of straightforward American death metal alongside the more dextrous, syncopated “push-pull” structures that easily identify bands from that original era and location, including Immolation alongside Incantation.

Incantation’s throwback to their past discography along with more mainstream song structures lends credence to the notion that Dirges of Elysiumwill be similar to their last album, Vanquish in Vengeance, which surpassed the artistic vision of many contemporary releases but ultimately fell short of the artistic heights of the past. However, we here at DMU headquarters remain hopeful that this track is merely intended for commercial distribution and does not necessarily reflect the tone of the entire album.

Dirges of Elysium will be released, in the US, on June 24th via Listenable Records.

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30 comments

  • RLS

    Do not stop posting. It is one of the only relevant sites where the critique is written by adults made for adults. Thank you for your input. It is listened to by weathered ears. You dig?

    1. Roger Waters' Unwashed Dildo

      Honestly aside from the title track, Master of Puppets bores the hell out of me. People defend battery but it has faux aggression written all over it. Disposable hero’s hangs on a riff on par with the painfully boring “Walk” by Pantera. Lepper messiah is bland and I think the rest of the songs are ballads. Ride the Lightening is superior and could have been a great album if they had fired Lars and got a real drummer.

      1. Brett Stevens

        Pantera probably borrowed much from the album and worked with a simple idea, e.g. combining ZZ Top and Metallica.

        The one song you didn’t mention was “Orion,” which was pretty much the peak of the album. Otherwise, yes, it’s a simplified version of the tracks on Ride the Lightning.

        They fixed this with …And Justice For All by using more melody, but also went nearly full-on rock song structure and bounce-metal, thus making sure their serious fans stayed away.

        1. Roger Waters' Unwashed Dildo

          Ah yes I forgot about Orion completely. I don’t remember it making a huge impact on me but I’ll revisit.

          Interesting opinion on …..and justice for all. I’ve always felt that, besides the opener and “one” , the album is uninteresting. The songs drag on longer than they should, especially considering the use of rock structure as you mentioned. Overall, compositionally and aesthetically, it feels as if it was created by mechanical doppelgangers of the band, rather than the product of the red blood of a beating heart.

          1. Brett Stevens

            They put all their energy into writing good guitar lines that exhibited harmony and melody. The rest of their stuff was influenced by the great temptation to make money off of speed metal.

            I didn’t like AFJA at the time and I don’t like it now. I detest “One.” The best part is the instrumental and “Blackened,” even if the instrumental gets Jesusy (which is why I hated it back in the day).

            Prong’s Beg to Differ, Exhorder, Exodus and Biohazard need to be mentioned in the Pantera influences context as well.

  • veien

    I like what I hear so far so will be looking forward to hear more, and thank god some decent cover art for once.

  • trystero

    I dont mind that riff fragment, though its pretty much the core of the song (especially considering as there is little advancement beyond it) and overall this is boring stuff. That it has older Incantation style riffs as punctuation dont help it at all except to create false hopes in the listener.

  • eman

    Fairly interesting listen, though at this point Incantation is more comfortable and entertaining than challenging and frightening. Still highly recommend seeing them live, given the chance.

    Of all the old-school bands still plowing along, Incantation are ahead of most but fall behind Autopsy who are making more consistent music.

  • Todd

    Accusing bands like this of “commercialism” makes no sense to me. Have you ever tried to make money off of death metal? Or any genre of music? Good luck. I know bands on Warped Tour and MTV that don’t pay themselves a living wage.

    “Social approval” may be a more realistic goal (getting fans, gaining accolades) and may push some to create works more palatable to the mainstream or whichever group they identify with. But, while this is certainly not “Christening the Afterbirth,” accusing this track of commercialism and “leaning towards a marketplace” lacks perspective.

    1. Roger Waters' Unwashed Dildo

      I’m going to cue you into a little secret. The hidden value of DMU is: When they do promote music, it’s almost always good. There are far less duds coming out of the website than any other. Which is what keeps me checking the home page.

      Too much energy is wasted on their criticisms, in my opinion. Not that I am innocent of this charge.

    2. Brett Stevens

      Have you ever tried to make money off of death metal?

      I’ve watched people do it for nearly 25 years now. What was your question?

      There is always a commercial interest, paired with a social interest. The bands might not make out like bandits, but it may be a step up for them financially. The labels might not win on any one band, but get two dozen of them and you’re talking.

      “Social approval” may be a more realistic goal (getting fans, gaining accolades) and may push some to create works more palatable to the mainstream or whichever group they identify with.

      Very true. And when something is popular, many people buy it.

      1. Todd

        My point is that “commercialism” is a trite critique. More realistically, Incantation simply lack the creative vigor of their youth and are compelled to keep crafting songs that fit the blueprint they’ve established for themselves.

        This is a pretty good death metal song, and is light years away from anything that actually sells records and t-shirts like The Acacia Strain or Emmure. Angst, mosh parts, and ironic t-shirts sell, not bendy “Procreation of the Wicked” riffs and esoteric lyrics.

        If their motive was profit, they’d work in finance or start a supplement company. If their motive was financial security, they’d get any job ever other than playing in a death metal band.

        1. betterman

          “If their motive was profit, they’d work in finance or start a supplement company. If their motive was financial security, they’d get any job ever other than playing in a death metal band.”

          This is a very ignorant comment. At this point, the goal for these guys is being able to sustain themselves without resorting to something extremely boring like an office job. Most of them have limited education anyway, and are still outsiders.

          Metal like all art is dependent on inspiration. Nothing inspiring about middle-aged men touring and drinking themselves out of boredom day after day.

          1. Robert

            Do you honestly know for a fact that the guys in Incantation have limited education?

            1. betterman

              No, but I wasn’t just talking about Incantation.
              Also, formal education might be the correct phrasing. The one that will help them get better daily jobs.

          2. Count Ringworm

            You are ignorant one. Most musicians hold day jobs. Nobody except basement collectors purchase albums anymore. Tours are only profitable for those than can fill sizable venues. Merch is… Well how many guys wearing a Death Metal tee have you run into lately?

            Where is the money. I don’t see it.

              1. Count Ringworm

                No doubt Metal is currently trendy in certain circles. But the members of Incantation could easily make a downtuned ‘sludge/doom’ album for Southern Lord and sell a truckload of vinyl to the beardo crowd if profit was the goal.

                Far as digital sales are concerned I have no clue and no interest.

        2. Brett Stevens

          My point is that “commercialism” is a trite critique.

          Doesn’t make sense. It’s the dominant force that pushes music away from honesty.

          1. Todd

            While money may be an end of popularity, I think most musicians would rather be famous than rich. Some would rather be respected than rich or famous. And a good chunk would probably trade fame and respect for groupies.

            I also think that accusing bands who are either stuck in a rut artistically or are simply aping genre conventions of “commercialism” is inaccurate.

            Instead, they probably just like the style of music and want to participate.

            A more realistic critique is pedestrian genre signalling.

            Let’s see if Max Martin writes something for the next Ghost record though…

  • trystero

    You know I think Incantation could put out an album of pretty much any quality and have it sell about the same. When most people cant tell the difference and the goal of the band is to be a meal ticket (or fun, or anything that isnt an attempt to make cutting edge art). It probably helps to make it relatively palatable though and so yes it can be claimed they are motivated by commercial concerns. Commercialism itself is relative, the most sellout death metal band (assuming they stay death metal) is not going to make anywhere near as much money as Kings of Leon or Coldplay.

  • Dissident Aggressor

    I think this site often overestimates the cynicism of some musicians, perhaps as a defense mechanism? The real truth is closer to this:

    When bands like Incantation – or virtually any other metal band with 3-4 albums behind them – start to simplify and/or modernize their music it’s not so much a calculated commercial decision but a way to (unsuccesfully) ‘renew’ themselves since the original impetus and inspiration for making music has run its course all too quickly. This speaks for the limitations of metal as an artform. Classical composers of previous centuries could spend whole lifetimes developing their craft; they didn’t make 180 turns at the first sign of artistic exhaustion in desperate attempts to ‘re-invent’ themselves.

      1. Brett Stevens

        Weirdly, in my life I’ve found that the musicians who do best are those who just keeping doing what they always did, and keep the quality level consistent, but never stop and keep output constant. Eventually, they’ve got enough backlog to have checks showing up every month and enough audience saturation that they can tour without expensive promotion.

    1. Brett Stevens

      This is true, but at that point, the band is making music for commercial motives instead of waiting to release something better, wouldn’t you say?

      Other motives to be mentioned: timing, difficulty of juggling different lives, family needs, ease of the money, desire for fame eluded them last round, etc.

      1. Dissident Aggressor

        I think we’re all products of our time to some extent, even those of us who consider ourselves as detractors. As a youth you have a stronger immune system but as your enthusiasm wears off you will inevitably lower your standards without even realizing it.

        I was using Wikipedia the other day, it’s a fantastic site but it has a big flaw – the in-article links. One moment you’re reading about the Russian Revolution but five paragraphs in you will see another “even more interesting” link which in turn leads to another link and so on, until you’re miles from where you started without progressing an inch. We always chase what’s behind the next corner and in this age that makes us less and less coherent as people as time wears on. This is very apparent in the case of Incantation and other bands like Immortal and Suffocation; I don’t think money is an issue in most cases but rather the problem is fatigue in life.