Chrch – Light Will Consume Us All; Fister – No Spirit Within (2018)

ChrchLight Will Consume Us All (Neurot Recordings, 11 May 2018)

 

FisterNo Spirit Within (Listenable Records, 18 May 2018)

 

Hey! Remember that incredible split of DOOOOOOM between California’s Chrch and Missouri’s Fister, that came out last November? We just wrote about it at the beginning of this year. Well, both of those bands recently wrapped up a joint European tour, and coincidentally they are both beginning a series of U.S. tour dates TONIGHT (although those will all be separate shows). Also, they both signed to new labels in the recent past (Neurot and Listenable respectively), and both bands have just released their first album on those labels within the past month.

In this article we’re going to talk about both of those albums, and then at the end will be a list of upcoming performances for each band. Prepare yourselves.

 

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Incantation – XXV: Quarter Century of Blasphemy (2016)

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IncantationXXV: Quarter Century of Blasphemy (self-released, 2016)

 

Way back in 1989 — about twenty-seven years ago — death metal was just beginning to grow out of its infancy. The genre had recently splintered off from thrash, with bands falling over each other trying to sound heavier, faster, more sinister, and more extreme than anything that had come before. But by this time, the “death metal” sound was already starting to expand; similar to the way thrash had been evolving and further distancing itself further from its hardcore punk roots, newer death metal bands were starting to add a greater technicality or progressiveness to the music, a wider range of tempos and dynamics, as well as beginning to incorporate various other influences. One of the newer bands to emerge around that time was Incantation, who employed the typical death metal aesthetic, while often sticking with more of a mid-to-lower tempo — allowing the intricate guitar solos and riffs to shine through more clearly than in those bands who chose to join the neverending maximum speed arms race.

Living in Johnstown, Pennsylvania — a place I myself have visited before; pretty much its only claim to fame is the fact that they had a big flood once, as evidenced by the fact that one of the few things to do there is to tour the Johnstown Flood Museum — naturally the band would spend a lot of their time traveling and touring. While undergoing numerous different line-up changes and using countless live musicians throughout the past couple of decades, Incantation has been all over the world multiple times. But early in their career they became aligned most closely with pioneering New York death metal bands like Suffocation, and especially Mortician (with whom they’ve actually shared or swapped members during a time or two in their joint histories).

From their debut album on Relapse Records, Onward to Golgotha, through later releases on Candlelight and their own label Ibex Moon, and finally through albums this decade on Listenable Records, including their latest, 2014’s Dirges of Elysium, the band has continued to push the envelope creatively, while garnering critical praise as well as a rabid international following. And now, after a quarter century of material, Incantation have put together a retrospective package that includes highlights from all over that lengthy career. This vinyl-only release (which is only available directly from the band) includes all new, never-before-released recordings: one completely new song and a few re-recorded gems from their earlier days, plus a number of live versions that are exclusive to this package. The new compilation, titled XXV is now being offered for sale to fans, including a few package deals with merch you also won’t find anywhere else …

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Review: Satan – Life Sentence

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SatanLife Sentence (Listenable Records, 21 May 2013)

 

Hello, readers. As I mentioned a few days ago when I published my list of year-end lists (if you missed it, the collection can be found right here; my own personal list of 2013’s best releases can be found by scrolling all the way to the bottom), and as you could certainly tell yourself just by poking around a little bit, I really dropped the ball when it came to getting much writing done last year. And consequently, I neglected to share a great deal of music with you folks. Believe me, I feel bad about that, because there’s so much of it that I’ve been really enjoying listening to, and it’s pretty unfair not to pass that along. So on that note, let’s talk about Satan.

 

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Incantation Reveals: a New Album is Coming Soon!

 
After more than two decades, American death metal pioneers Incantation just keep going and going, showing neither any signs of slowing down nor any inclination to follow the latest fad or change their style… despite the fact that sole original member John McEntee is now working with (if my counting abilities are accurate) the three-hundred-eighty-seventh different line-up of the band since its inception in 1989.

In the years since then, Incantation has made its mark as one of the very first bands signed to Relapse Records (growing alongside that label during their decade-long relationship), and as one of the originators of the New York Death Militia sound (remaining very close to former labelmates Mortician, and even sharing bandmembers with their NYDM brethren from time to time). In addition to having an ever-shifting cast of characters, the band has also called various locations its home — New York, Ohio, and Johnstown, PA.

Throughout this history, Incantation has put out numerous demos and EPs, participated in countless splits and compilations, and released a total of eight LPs. After a trek through Brazil earlier this year and several stops at European festivals during the summer, the guys have returned home to the States and announced that album number nine would be arriving sometime next month via the label that has handled their past few releases, Listenable Records.

 
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In Case You Missed It: Stéphan Forté – The Shadows Compendium

Stéphan FortéThe Shadows Compendium (Listenable Records, 28 February 2012)

Ugh, I can’t believe it’s only Wednesday. Last week, with the holiday and me adding on a vacation day, I only actually worked three days… which I think has now totally spoiled me, because I keep feeling like the workweek should be just about over. This sucks. I spent most of the past couple days listening to some ultra-heavy monolithic death metal, which is usually great for settling the nerves and calming me down. Right now it isn’t really doing it for me, though, and I’m afraid the next person that bothers me is going to end up with a pretty nasty punch to the throat unless I find a better way to chill out. Considering the fact that the majority of the time, I deal with the pain-in-the-ass people over the phone or by e-mail, the whole punching thing might be a bit awkward, but believe me, I’d find a way.

So that brings us to the subject of this review, since I was looking for something totally different to listen to. How about some guitar-driven instrumental metal? Probably not something you’d expect me to gravitate towards, especially since I’ve discussed some of my thoughts on the genre previously, and how it can really rub me the wrong way unless it’s done just right. I was a bit skeptical too, at first, especially when I saw this album cover (see above) and noticed how much this guy looks like a French Steve Vai with a bunch of eyeliner. But then I decided, what the hell, I can be open-minded and at least check out a song or two, then move on to something else.

Well, I’m glad I did give this album a chance, because honestly I was pretty impressed by the quality, and — if I can say this without having it sound like a backhanded compliment — I was surprised by the overall lack of pretension and pomposity that one normally expects from solo guitarists (e.g. Yngwie, etc.).
 

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