By now it’s clear that Blood Incantation are the death metal band of the future, a band willing to push the genre and do things with its base elements that others may be scared of or not capable of. The quartet meld progressive qualities with dirty riffs, speak of their love of science fiction and their quest for the ultimate truth and put an (almost) five and a half minute instrumental track on their sophomore album while also having the audacity to follow it up with an eighteen minute behemoth of a song. It’s not the “done thing” within their musical circles and as such Blood Incantation are setting the genre down a new path, one that reaches for the stars and aims to discover the truth about our past. Aliens? Maybe.
Hidden History of the Human Race deals with its subject matter in guttural vocal tones and lyrics that lean more towards the philosophical than the gore many of death metal’s greats and in doing so, Blood Incantation are immediately more interesting than the progenitors of the scene - yet, they still pay homage within their technical riffs or the slight inflections of groove. “Slave Species of the Gods” sets out this strategy from its opening roars and dizzying drum patterns; Paul Riedl’s voice is dredged from the pitch black abyss of the cosmos and the words that are called out are believable, that these are facts and that we, the listeners, have much to become aware of.
“The Giza Power Plant” incorporates middle eastern influence guitar movements into its more subdued moments, as Blood Incantation pull heavily from the mythos that the pyramids were ancient energy producing systems and that civilisation was much more advanced than we have been led to believe. The song itself is a deft show of just how much the band have embraced their more avant-garde leanings as riffs open up to allow short bursts of breathing space before crashing back to reality on screaming pulls and pushed back spoken word vocals. It’s these curious choices that give Blood Incantation their power and when they turn to an extended, fairly instrumental track to bridge “The Giza Power Plant” with the incredibly named “Awakening from the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul),” it makes perfect sense, rather than coming across like they are trying to prove just how weird they can be.
This atmospheric turn during “Inner Paths (to Outer Space)” is not entirely unexpected as many of Blood Incantation’s tracks do tend towards the building of blissful auras or melodic passages - something which was more evident on 2016s Starspawn - but it’s made all the more fascinating by the steady climb towards a more aggressive sound and the inclusion of one vocal line - a fifteen second guttural growl from Demilich’s Antti Boman in its closing moments. The sheer nerve of the thing has it reach levels of perfection that almost takes your breath away.
Hidden History of the Human Race ends on the aforementioned “Awakening from the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul)” which is an eighteen minute lesson in just how technical death metal can be. Atmosphere is held as a high priority and the song moves not in constant waves of riffs and brutality, but instead takes a more organic route towards its final destination. Vocals are, of course, rendered in growls and bellows yet are used in such a way as to not be overwhelming - they are used sparingly, when the song calls for texture or for impact and Riedl’s voice is the guiding light for this journey to the outer limits, seeking knowledge from old gods and power from the knowledge. It’s interesting, then, that the song ends on a much more somber note than those it started on, the melancholic route that it takes in it’s closing moments is much different than what came before, almost as if the knowledge that was sought was not quite what was expected, or was not found at all. For Blood Incantation this journey is far from over.
9.0 / 10
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