Artist: Blood Incantation
Album: Hidden History of the Human Race
Genre: Death Metal
Review by Thomas Lanyon
Back in August of 2016, Denver death metal quartet, Blood Incantation spawned a star. A perfect storm of turbulent, nebula fracturing death metal, that gave life to ancient alien conspiracies. It was a sound perfected by a band on their first full length offering, a debut record that also happens to be one of the finest death metal records of the 21st century. Which begs the question; where to from here? How do you follow on from the cosmic opus that is, ‘Starspawn’?
The short answer is with the long awaited, much anticipated, ‘Hidden History of the Human Race’. A four track, 36 minute masterpiece, recorded entirely in analogue, that builds on the foundation laid so brilliantly by it’s predecessor, without the addition of unnecessary indulgences. It’s psychedelic, dynamic, atmospheric, brutal and progressive. Often all at once.
The album’s opener, “Slave Species to the God’s”, erupts at breakneck speed, spewing forth a deluge of blast beats and face melting fretwork. The song surges onwards, aggressive and alive, before expanding into spaces that feel far wider, where the air is thick and oppressive. “The Giza Power Plant”, first composed back in 2013, was deliberately omitted from ‘Starspawn’s’ track-listing so that it could be placed here. The pinch harmonics at the very beginning of the song are reminiscent of, ‘Obscura’, Gorguts’ seminal, 1998, wonder of dissonant death metal; a comparison of the highest order. The track also sees the band experimenting with Middle Eastern guitar melodies, droning and serpentine, weaving their way through celestial death.
“We improvised this track on psychedelics over a period of several months, allowing it to grow and evolve as it chose,”. So said Blood Incantation’s, Paul Riedl (vocals/guitar), about the album’s third track, “Inner Paths (to Outer Space)”. An atmospheric, largely instrumental piece that explores alien soundscapes and rhythmic, proggy instrumentation, led by the mind expanding, fretless bass work of Jeff Barrett. Demelich vocalist, Antti Boman, makes an appearance during the songs climax, wielding his iconic, odious, guttural growl.
Long in both name and run-time, “Awakening From The Dream Of Existence To The Multidimensional Nature Of Our Reality (Mirror Of The Soul)”, is an incredible death metal achievement. Eighteen minutes in length, and free of embellishments, the album's final song is a masterclass in how to write a long form piece of music without ever wasting the listeners time. Even the ambient interlude feels vital in building anticipation for the tracks second movement, which in turn makes it’s all the more impactful. The sickly groove that lurches towards the song, and albums, final moments is a highlight, as is the collage of beautifully plucked strings that spell the end of this otherworldly journey.
Blood Incantation have achieved something remarkable with, ‘Hidden History of the Human Race’, a more than worthy follow-up to a flawless debut, that cements them as one of this generation's finest extreme metal acts.
9 out of 10
'Hidden History of the Human Race' is out now on Dark Descent Records.