Incantation - _Diabolical Conquest_
(Relapse, 1998)
by: Paul Schwarz (9 out of 10)
I purchased and began listening to Incantation's two previous albums, the original mix of the second, to prepare myself for _Diabolical Conquest_. What I was to realize was that nothing could fully prepare me for the brutal death metal assault which _Diabolical Conquest_'s eight tracks and 45 minutes bring. The blasting of opener "Impending Diabolical Conquest" immediately alerts the listener to the first important change _DC_ brings for Incantation: an improvement in production. The clarity of all instruments, even the low, guttural vocals, has been increased near tenfold and bestows even more power to Incantation's ever vicious assault. What one further learns as the album proceeds on its road to hell is that Incantation have also pushed themselves to write the best songs with the best playing they, even with their high standards, have ever done. Though the overall quality of the death metal on offer is superb, the segments certain songs include, such as the stop/start section in "Ethereal Misery", give the album a yet sharper knife edge with which to slice into the carcass of musical brilliance upon which the band have chosen to feed. Though the last sixteen minute track "Unto Infinite Twighlight / Majesty of Infernal Damnation" may seem long, it is not ponderous, and I also excuse the similarity of its first riff to that on Sodom's "Obsessed by Cruelty", as it provides a final crushing testament to _Diabolical Conquest_'s unshaking quality. Incantation's finest hour is upon us and, even in such a good year for the style, their album ranks as one of this year's best death metal albums.

(article published 1/9/1998)

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