This is a big album full of big songs. Across 75 minutes the band indulge their love for true doom metal, played with crushing heaviness and epic intensity. Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Obelyskkh, Lucifer’s Chalice, Uncoffined, Winds of Genocide, and many others, it’s clear that Thronehammer know what they’re doing with their material, and Incantation Rites is a journey into war with an experienced group of mercenaries.
The band’s traditional doom is flavoured and enhanced with elements of classic metal, epic heavy metal, old-school death/doom metal, and sludge metal, alongside a pinch of other styles here and there. This is all skilfully blended and shaped into huge DOOM songs that bring the DOOM in no uncertain DOOM terms.
The METAL OF DOOM is strong with this one. Maybe I’m overegging it, but I cannot emphasise how DOOM this record is. Obviously, this is a very good thing. It is a doom metal record, after all. DOOM!
Anyway, enough of that.
Across seven well-crafted songs the band ably demonstrate what makes Incantation Rites such a compelling beast. The songs take the basics that you’d expect from the style and build on the strong foundations with character, skill, and a few non-standard elements that occasionally appear – enough so that the album stands out as its own master, but not so many that it begins to drift too far from its doomed core.
For such lengthy songs and such a lengthy album the band rarely give the listener cause to stray from the path. Whether it’s a glacial atmospheric soundscape, a thundering anthem to battle, a rich blood red melody, a section of pure crushing darkness, or many other sonic canvases that Thronehammer paint, there’s more than enough here to hold the attention. This also translates into an album that actually has more diversity than you might imagine, which greatly benefits the songs, (not to mention the album’s duration).
The strength of these tracks would be hindered with a subpar singer, but thankfully that’s not a worry for Thronehammer. The vocalist displays her range extremely well across the album. Everything from powerful clean singing to deep death growls gets its time in the limelight, and her performance is first class.
This is so metal it hurts. If underground warmongering doom is your thing, then Incantation Rites is very much for you.
Very highly recommended.