Published Nov 22, 2019Many old school revivalists have risen out of the death metal underground recently, but perhaps none so enigmatic as Blood Incantation. The Denver, CO quartet made first contact through a string of demos and a split with Spectral Voice, but it was their acclaimed debut, Starspawn, that moved them closer to world domination.
Their latest album, Hidden History of the Human Race, is in many ways a sequel to their seismic debut, but it's more the Empire Strikes Back kind than a Lost World: Jurassic Park type of sequel. The cosmic themes and equally out-there sounds of Starspawn are built upon, rather than recycled. Songs are more focused and move with more purpose this time around, but still incorporate all the progressive and ambient elements the band are known for. The vocal delivery is also much more consistent and rhythmic on this album, really driving songs, rather than struggling to find their place in them.
Album opener "Slave Species of the Gods" blends early Morbid Angel with '90s Death into a pummelling old-school banger. The album expands into more progressive territory with "The Giza Power Plant," which includes some Demilich-inspired riffage and a Middle Eastern-inflected interlude. The instrumental "Inner Paths (to Outer Space)" earns its place by not only laying down a serious groove, but also setting the tone for the 18-minute opus "Awakening From the Dream of Existence to the Multidimensional Nature of Our Reality (Mirror of the Soul)," where Blood Incantation really explore their progressive side.
It makes for an album that impresses without overstaying its welcome, but it's more than just the sum of its parts. Hidden History has a vibe, like something old and undiscovered. It's the riffs, the all-analogue recording process, everything. You breathe the atmosphere of this record when you listen to it. That's why you'll return to it again and again. (Dark Descent)