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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Into the Madness of Space With Blood Incantation: Looking Back on ‘Starspawn’ [Haunted Riffs]

The 2010s saw a great amount of growth for the death metal genre. Among the acts to rise during this time is the extraterrestrial death metal force known as Blood Incantation. On today’s installment of Haunted Riffs, let’s venture into the cosmos, confront its horrors, and soak in the filthy brutality that is Blood Incantation’s first LP, Starspawn.

In 2015, after the release of three demos, the Denver, Colorado act put out their first EP, Interdimensional Extinction. Its four tracks pummel and play out to a slight psychedelic tease; two qualities to be greatly expanded upon in Starspawn. Released in August of 2016, Starspawn gained praise from both critics and fans alike. While only a five-track LP, the album provides astonishing depth – each cut relentless in its surreal miasma and technical ferocity. Whereas technical death metal strives to innovate on conventions established within the genre – offering new twists on style, sound, and songwriting – Blood Incantation’s brand of tech death pulls upon psychedelic rock, establishing a trippy atmosphere. It’s a sort of trippy you’d come to find in a stoner/doom act; in terms of death metal, one might draw technical comparisons to that of Gorguts. Blood Incantation’s interest in experimenting allows their music to land with an impact strong enough to rattle the mind.

Opening with “Vitrification of Blood (Pt. 1),” the thirteen-minute banger is anything but a gentle start. Throughout its progression, the band transports the listener into the darkness of space, the lyrics describing an existential horror. “Falling… Fall through the stargate within/ But is this the first or the last time again?/ Opening between the gates on either side/ Spiraling… Awaken in another mind.” To further elevate this bleakness, the instrumentation shifts from relentless shredding and blast beats, to exuding a droning tone that waves over with somber energies. Transitions throughout the song land with an eerie precision; it’s fascinating to hear how the band goes from all-out savage instrumentation to haunting ambiance.

The following five songs don’t clock near as long in playtime but continue to bring the surreal brutality. The drumming on “Chaoplasm” begins with constant rolls and pummeling, as the bass and guitar work bring exciting inflections to the overall intensity. A fast shift takes place early on where the band amplifies the tempo, the rush building to a great air of menace. “Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood Pt. 2)” is a lengthier extension of this heaviness, providing a groove at times that is both fun and violent sounding. “Meticulous Soul Devourment” serves as more of an atmospheric cut. Heavy distortion exudes through the presentation; the guitar playing offering a sinister edge in its more minimalist performance. It is a welcoming breather before the album closes on the self-titled track – an abrupt yell and whirling guitar riffs kicking off the song before a cyclone of drumbeats bashes down.

Blood Incantation is a beast to be reckoned with instrumentally. Along with the brilliant ferocity that drummer Isaac Faulk and bassist Jeff Barrett bring to each song, guitarists Paul Riedl and Morris Kolontyrsky deliver an astounding technicality that remains thrilling throughout. It isn’t just that they deliver a variety of styles or sounds, rather, it’s how they effectively use transitions involving time signatures, sound and tempo to create mesmerizingly heavy compositions. While each song goes hard, they also feel like sonic puzzles; how Riedl and Kolontyrsky navigate their performances through a given track – twisting and contorting sound – will keep listeners guessing as to what will come next.

Innovation is key in any genre’s growth; to eventually depart from conventions and transcend. Among their contemporaries, Blood Incantation stands out as a captivating, otherworldly act in death metal. Their craftsmanship has pushed the genre forward – creating music that sonically crushes and invades the mind. Though the stellar Hidden History of the Human Race would release a few years later, Starspawn represents an integral contribution to the death metal canon.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/editorials/3676353/madness-space-blood-incantation-looking-back-starspawn-haunted-riffs/

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