Incantation

Mortal Throne of Nazarene

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On their debut album, Onward to Golgotha, Incantation defined a murky, doomy vision of death metal that drew heavily from Celtic Frost's To Mega Therion album. Mortal Throne of Nazarene shows the band extrapolating upon the framework it had already created by introducing more technical playing and extended slower passages. In the mid-'80s, bands took the thick riffing of Black Sabbath and moved it from the blues idiom into something with a more romanticist sense of melody. Many of the early black and death metal bands embraced this style of composition as they began to differentiate themselves from speed and thrash metal. While Incantation's songs alternate frenetically between blastbeats and crawling doom passages, melodic themes tie everything together. A riff modulates keys and undergoes rhythmic variation before its musical cousin is introduced with a sudden tempo change. Clever drumming highlights subtle accents and offers surprising syncopation, as there is plenty of room in these compositions for rhythmic excess. Bends and pinch harmonics give riffs a lurching, menacing feel. This album is a sonic muck of low-pitched rumbling vocals, high-speed snare drum, and nearly chromatic riffing. While aesthetically challenging, the melodic characteristics of Mortal Throne of Nazarene represent the finesse and craftsmanship of a master artist.

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