On Sect of Vile Divinities, Incantation continue the trend of borrowing influences from contemporaries they started out with many years ago. Autopsy and Mortician have already been referenced on Primordial Domination and Profane Nexus, namely in the use of a brighter, more sickening tone of doom than the industrial-grade sludge that is the band’s wont, and the murderous groove of an album like Zombie Apocalypse. Added to these, on the new album, are the kind of exotic flourishes one might associate with Nile, the barre chord hyperactivity of ‘A Skull Full of Maggots‘, and the verse-chorus patterns of an Asphyx-lite project like Hail of Bullets.
The traditional scaling up and down the dissonant register – think the opening to ‘Golgotha‘ – still prevails on the faster songs, but elsewhere Sect of Vile Divinities carries a more extroverted melodic flavoring than what one normally expects from Incantation, so much so that vast stretches of this album resemble a different band altogether. Initial premises aren’t as extensively developed as one would hope, with songs frequently recycling motifs either harmonically or through change in tempo. Momentum is constantly arrested, too: much more preferable was the earlier tactic of including doom workouts as independent songs instead of having these sections creep into the overall body of the album.
The trade-off here then is between memorability and songwriting intricacy. The relationship between these two aspects is inversely proportional at the best of times but even more so considering Incantation‘s musically attritional aesthetic. The band have obviously favored the first attribute on this album, making it a less challenging and a less dark experience than usual. But Incantation are a band far too steeped in the tradition to write a poor death metal album, and Sect of Vile Divinities can still conceivably serve as an introduction to the band with the disclaimer that their best work lies in the past and in a form considerably different from the present.