Incantation – XXV: Quarter Century of Blasphemy (2016)

incantation-XXV

 

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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Innervenus Music: Two New CDs Coming Next Month!

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Hello, friends. Regular visitors to this website have surely noticed that recently the volume of writing I am putting out there has significantly decreased. I apologize for that. But it hasn’t been the result of laziness, I assure you. I’ve been getting myself involved with a few other things — as I keep alluding to in several new posts over the past few weeks — and finally I want to let you know about one of those.

So, I have been asked to join the Pittsburgh-based record label The Innervenus Music Collective to help out with their PR and publicity. It’s a pretty exciting opportunty for me — first of all, as a writer I’ve been working with a variety of PR people and representatives from other labels, so I understand what’s involved, and it’s cool to be getting some experience from the other direction now. But even more than that, now I get to work directly with a group of people who do so much to support our local music scene — between planning shows and giving away the Iron Atrocity compilations, not to mention releasing albums from some really talented bands (Vulture, Invader, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot — just to name a few examples that I had written about last year)!

And so this new position has been using up a lot of my free time recently, mostly because we’re gearing up to put out two CDs in February: the debut full-length by grindcore/death dealers Grisly Amputation, and a self-titled EP by death-thrash-groove-sludge-core band Lycosa. I’ve been sending out promo materials to a whole slew of websites and magazines, so we should start seeing some reviews trickle in shortly, but I figure I wouldn’t really be doing my job (EITHER job – as a writer OR a publicist!) if I didn’t also inform you about the releases here on Valley of Steel!

 
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Upcoming Shows: Maryland Deathfest (MDF X)

As everyone knows, almost all of the awesome metal tours and festivals take place over in Europe.  They’ve got Wacken Open Air in Germany, Download Festival at Donnington Park in England, Metalcamp in Slovenia, and what seems like millions of others — all with the most incredible lineups imaginable.  Meanwhile, the rest of us are pretty much just forced to contend with tours that have a far-too-high ratio of shitty-to-good, like Ozzfest or the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival.

Well, with a few exceptions, and probably the biggest exception each year is the Maryland Deathfest.  This weekend-long metal party is held annually in the city of Baltimore, which as everyone knows was named for the seminal 1970s metal band Sir Lord Baltimore.

This year, the Deathfest is taking place between the 24th-27th of May, and tickets are available for three out of those four days.  As we’ve recently discussed, Morgion had to pull out of their scheduled performance, but there is still a fuckton and a half of awesomeness in the lineup.

**Update (3 May 2012) — the official time-slot schedule has been released; details below**

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