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Album Review: SPAWN OF POSSESSION Incurso

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Five years is certainly a long time to wait in-between album releases, but when your material is as daunting, dense and brutal as Spawn of Possession’s Incurso, it makes complete sense. The band’s previous effort, the stunning Noctambulant, certainly lit a fire underneath the technical death metal community; further expanding their hyperspeed sound with a more crisp sounding mix and an even more progressive approach to their songwriting. Hell, I’ll be honest – “Sour Flow” is one of the most incredible songs I’ve heard in the genre. Now, with the newly added guitarist Christian Muenzner (Necrophagist, Obscura) and bassist Erland Caspersen (Vile, Decrepit Birth), Spawn of Possession is primed and ready to be accepted as one, if not the premier technical death metal band in the game today. 

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Incurso isn’t going to be an album for passive listeners, even in the extreme metal community. This is fifty-two minutes of incredibly demanding riffage, most of which turns and changes at the drop of a hat. Sections of songs are rarely repeated, guitar riffs change at a second’s notice, and standard rules of music theory and structure are essentially abandoned. While this may seem like a turn-off to casual fans of the genre, that’s precisely the point; Spawn of Possession want to scare the shit out of you and force you to take notice. Only through multiple, concentrated listens can one truly be able to figure out exactly what is going on here. This isn’t your “traditional” technical death metal album with a barrage of nothing more than arpeggio sweeps (I’m looking at you, Origin). In short, Incurso is caught somewhere in-between Cryptopsy’s None So Vile and a Stravinsky suite.

While Incurso doesn’t particularly revolutionize their sound, it takes the Noctambulant style and expands on it. You’ll still get the trademark, incredibly blistering drum performance and precise vocal delivery. You’ll also get the more, dare I say, “traditional” death metal songs that harkens back to the days of Cabinet. The experimentation comes forward most prominently in the two lengthiest tracks on the album, “The Evangelist” and “Apparition” (coincidentally my two favorites). Despite the word having lost almost all of its meaning in today’s metal community, “epic” is really the only apt term to describe these songs. They are, as The Red Chord’s Mike McKenzie describes, “evil Cynic in the body of an alien war machine/cyborg”. The orchestral backing of “Apparition” and Caspersen’s fretless bass work throughout the album add some new elements to the group’s sound, without ever deviating from their initial goals as a band – to make every other technical death metal band want to take their tunes back to the practice space for further evaluation.

This is, without a doubt, going to be one of the most talked-about death metal releases of the year, and for good reason. Absolutely essential listening for fans of the genre. Incurso can now be listened to in full, for free, on Spotify.

Rating: 9/10

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