Like free jazz, gangsta rap, and techno, death metal is certainly an acquired taste. Some people love it, while others flat-out detest it -- and quite often, those who love it are glad that others don't share their enthusiasm because they like being a part of something that is underground and far removed from the mainstream. Critics of extreme metal will argue that much of it is one-dimensional, and in some cases, they're right -- bands who favor an ultra-fast tempo 100 percent of the time can be exhilarating, but they're also limited. Blasphemy, however, isn't as predictable as other discs that came from the death metal/black metal field in the early 2000s. This CD has all of death metal's trademarks -- fast tempos; lyrics dealing with Satanism and the Occult; and a choked, grunting, evil-sounding vocal style. But while some death metal bands have nothing but fast tempos, Incantation likes to change tempos frequently. Parts of Blasphemy are fast, although the disc has more than its share of slow-tempo moments; in fact, it's safe to say that Blasphemy has more slow passages than 95 percent of the death metal releases that came out in the early 2000s. But fast or slow, Blasphemy is unrelenting in its brutality. Producer/engineer Bill Korecky favors a very dense sound, and that density makes for a brutally heavy CD. Density is the thing that makes the blistering free jazz of Charles Gayle and post-1964 John Coltrane much harsher than Anthony Braxton's AACM explorations, and it's the thing that can make Slayer a lot more punishing than Judas Priest or Black Sabbath. Density gives the listener very little breathing room, which is why Blasphemy is as harsh and claustrophobic as it is. Whether the tempo is fast, slow, or medium, Incantation takes no prisoners on this above-average death metal release.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson