By Tim Cornwell
Artist: Blood Incantation
Album: Hidden History of the Human Race
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2019
Genre: Death Metal
It’s easy to get lost in the confusion of what is being sold as Death Metal in the modern era. Among the group of artists that have not only stayed loyal to death metals original sound, but developed it as well, Blood Incantation stands above the herd. Hailing from Denver, Blood Incantation are a four-piece cosmic death metal group that combine a multitude of fan favorite death metal aspects into their craft (ex: space, aliens, pinch squeals, B.C. Rich Ironbirds, etc). Fronted by Paul Riedl, (who also plays in doom metal group Spectral Voice and death/doom act Chthonic Deity) the groups focus is aesthetic and sonic superiority, a goal they have consistently achieved.
Blood Incantation have been releasing music since 2013 but rose to prominence through their acclaimed 2016 debut Starspawn. The group’s follow up effort, 2019’s Hidden History of the Human Race, was unquestionably the metal album of the year. Both Starspawn and HHotHR were recorded in their hometown at World Famous Studios, and done completely analog, a testament to their musicianship and knowledge of the fine tunings of a truly perfect old school death metal album. The album as a whole is littered with ‘91 – ‘98 tech-death era Schuldiner influence, solidifying themselves as the band that filled the void Death left with Chuck’s passing in 2001 (RIP).
Out of the (star)gate, opening track “Slave Species of the Gods” hits you with four pinch harmonics layered over a blast beat within the first 10 seconds that then transition into a slowed down groove oriented version of the prior riff, setting the stage for what the listener should expect for the next 36 minutes of purified, calculated death metal.
The lyrical concepts on the album are as mind bending as the musical structures with lines such as “you’re free inside – This demiurge is beyond Time, This great nothing is ending – but the only change is in your mind”. Side note: According to Merriam-Webster a Demiurge is defined as “a Platonic subordinate deity who fashions the sensible world in the light of eternal ideas.” This mend bending aesthetic the record is focused around is elaborated on the vinyl version of the album which contains a booklet titled “A meditative inquiry on Mystery and Nature of human consciousness, as revealed by Blood Incantation”, the epitome of unique.
Track two of the album, “The Giza Power Plant”, is as mysterious as it is diverse. Both structurally and lyrically vivid, “The Giza Power Plant” propels the listener into inquiring about existence and pondering one’s consciousness. “Predisposed inertias propagate alien histories
As timelines weave between them while you sleep”. The song segways into a hypnotizing Egyptian inspired lead that fits the title like a glove. Entrancing and buried vocals are scattered throughout before transitioning to the albums intermission track, “Inner Paths (To Outer Space)”.
The lead single off HHothR, “Inner Paths (To Outer Space)” serves as an instrumental interlude highlighting the albums production and technical superiority. The track is psychedelic death metal that could put the foot in the door for opening a non-listener of extreme metal towards exploring what the genre has to offer. The subtlety, nuance and accessibility of the track made it the perfect single for the most anticipated metal album of 2019.
The fourth and final track of the album titled *deep breath* “Awakening from the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul)” encompasses eighteen minutes and the entire B side of the record. The track serves as the bands ace in the hole to ascend to god tier status. It’s mind blowing intricacy and technical perfection are only amplified by the fact that it was done analog. Making a record analog deserves a higher tier of respect as this implies every track was done in one singular take. From a musicians perspective, an eighteen minute song is equivalent to running a musical marathon. “Awakening” as well as the album as a whole cement the band as an undeniably memorable staple of modern extreme music.