Album Review: Blood Incantation Reveal the Hidden History of the Human Race
You may be able to tell from some of my previous reviews for this site that I’m not the biggest death metal guy. While I can appreciate the craft, the super brutal stuff just doesn’t do it for me personally. That said, Blood Incantation’s second full-length crashed my “Best of 2019” playlist before the first spin even ended. Hidden History of the Human Race not only unlocks the secrets of alien intervention in human evolution, it also provides enticing new possibilities for the genre as a whole.
The alien-obsessed Denver stoners know their fundamentals. DNA fragments from Morbid Angel, Death, Demilich, Gorguts, and Cynic show up in a cursory genetic scan. They weave the strands together in intriguing and unexpected ways, though. While you have Paul Riedl unleashing subterranean vibes from his vocal cords, his and Morris Kolontyrsky’s guitars bite unusually cleanly for this style. Thank our extraterrestrial overlords for that — you’ll want to soak in all the riffs. And they deliver on that front. Even though Hidden History clocks in at a brisk 37 minutes, Blood Incantation pack an entire catalog’s worth of licks in these four songs.
That’s right — four songs, two LP sides’ worth of music. Side one contains three very different aspects of their sound. “Slave Species of the Gods” fires off an intense death metal assault straight from the tombs buried under Mars’s surface. “The Giza Power Plant” unearths progressive twists and turns at every juncture. “Inner Paths to Outer Space” brings in some atmospheric elements and jazz fusion that’d make Jaco Pastorius cry. All of them killer.
And on the flip side… “Awakening from the Dream… (Mirror of the Soul).” At 18 minutes long, it has to be one of the longest death metal songs ever recorded. I’m sure the comment sections will let me know what I’m forgetting, but only Gorguts’ “Pleiades’ Dust,” Edge of Sanity’s “Crimson” compositions, and Meshuggah’s “I” come immediately to mind — and those are album-length experiments. There’s a reason few death metal bands attempt to break the length barrier: it’s a challenge to keep such a blunt and visceral form of music engaging for that amount of time. Blood Incantation nail it. They switch gears constantly, seamlessly tying together each section. It’s a real roller coaster ride (UFO-themed, of course).
Blood Incantation take a big step up from the lauded Starspawn on Hidden History of the Human Race. The songs take more surprising turns, the production sounds better, the performances feel tighter. Maybe they really are receiving transmissions from the stars.