Blood Incantation – Starspawn

Dark Descent Records
08/2016

“From the production and execution down to the very arrangement of the track list, Blood Incantation pick up a sweeping victory for their debut album.”

Dark Descent Records
08/2016


Vitrification of Blood (Part 1)
Chaoplasm
Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood Part 2)
Meticulous Soul Devourment
Starspawn

Stripping Starspawn down to pure sensibility converts it into a record that is worth investing attention towards. Blood Incantation’s debut full-length is a record that is efficient, consistent and, at a musically fundamental level, soundly composed. Frequent comparisons to Timeghoul and Demilich are deserved, to a degree, and as a post-2010 death metal band, Blood Incantation demonstrate enough tactics on Starspawn to break through the oversaturation of the genre. Leaving off third or fourth branch adjectives, such as ‘atmospheric’ or ‘technical’, and viewing this as a death metal record produced by a death metal band wanting to write death metal will show that this is a solid record. Starspawn occasionally gets lost with unneeded fluff or lack of direction, but musical capabilities show a potentially long future for Blood Incantation.

The first aspect of Starspawn that deserves mention are production properties. The overall cavernous sound coupled with the uncomplicated analog warmth over the instruments creates an expansive atmosphere. Faster, less complicated parts sound dense and earthy while the clean passages ring with a feeling like sunlight passing through drawn blinds. A good stereo system reveals the full brutish depth of the mix’s lower end, with deep punching bass drums and pronounced backing rhythms. Guitars, in various degrees of distortion, strike with pitiless impact as opposed to shrill, overdriven slice, lending itself heavily in creating a frantic and suffocating atmosphere.

Musical composition is intensely effectual with every second utilized to create a full wall of sound. Though some degree of the energy created in Starspawn is wasted through fluff or the occasional weak or lazy intro or bridge, some of the songwriting risks that were taken paid off with a result that is uncommon for those risks.

The opening track, ‘Vitrification of Blood (Part 1)’, stands at an awkward 13 minutes, more than double the length of the second longest track on the record. Long songs can suffer from a myriad of defects or undesirable traits regardless of genre. However, the gamble here paid off. ‘Vitrification of Blood (Part 1)’ is a standoffish and lengthy number that serves to define everything else behind it. It is the core of Starspawn and is a compilation of Blood Incantation’s general writing attitude over the rest of the record.

‘Vitrification of Blood (Part 1)’ is a compendium of time and tempo changes, leads ranging from listless wandering to sharp, surgical execution, and ceaseless delivery. Throughout the song, the atmosphere expands and contracts sharply across nearly a quarter hour. Pieces of the songs, such as the beginning, antagonistically move in on the listener with a barrage of double-bass and stylishly technical riffing. In contrast, the atmosphere is expanded and the song retreats slightly by means of clean passages, reverb-drenched leads, and bridges with enough rich detail to keep the track engaging as it moves from narrative to narrative.

Beyond the exceptional opening track, Blood Incantation stay consistent through the rest of the Starspawn. ‘Chaoplasm’ starts off languished but is eventually lifted off the ground courtesy of the scathing vocal delivery and a time change that launches into a stretch of concentrated musical ideas, growing, and adding to the sound like an avalanche sweeping up snow. The contrast between the opening track and ‘Chaoplasm’, whereas one shows the atmospheric and progressive depths the band can perform at in comparison to the more rhythm-centric and straightforward delivery of ‘Chaoplasm’, show the full range of power Blood Incantation is capable of.

‘Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood, Part 2)’ scales back on the intensity in exchange for breathing room to utilize a more diverse songwriting palette and give the minor flourishes and details in the song, such as the fretless bass melody and dry guitar, room to shine through the murk. ‘Meticulous Soul Devourment’ is an instrumental that leads into the album closer, ‘Starspawn’.

The title track is a scorched earth display. A layered combination of finger-tapping over a minor chord progression coupled with maelstrom drumming creates a sinister atmosphere. ‘Starspawn’ evolves from there in the form of manic blastbeats, strangely harmonized guitar lines, and ripping leads.

From the production and execution down to the very arrangement of the track list, Blood Incantation pick up a sweeping victory for their debut album. As a post-2010 death metal band, they’ve displayed talent and capability that is beyond the average product currently on the scene and they delivered in a matter that nods in acknowledgment to the genre’s golden past. Starspawn compares well with material from older bands such as Demilich and Timeghoul and current-era acts such as Portal and Chthe’ilist.

-A.Krause

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Author: A.Krause

Not human.

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