Deeds of Flesh
2. Where Angels Go Demons Follow
3. Bodiless Sleeper
4. The Evangelist
5. Servitude of Souls
6. Deus Avertat
7. Spiritual Deception
8. No Light Spared
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Where tech death is mentioned, the name Spawn of Possession is sure to follow. The now scattered European troop has taken six years to release their newest record, Incurso, which marks the debut of their finest line-up to date. With the legendary Christian Muezner, bass extraordinaire Erlend Casperson, and drummer Henrik Schönström now on board, the combined talent of the group goes above and beyond that of any similar artists, something that is made quite clear on Incurso. Though only two original members remain, the mind of Jonas Bryssling helps meld said talent into a sound that is uniquely Spawn of Possession and consequently that of one of the best death metal records of the year.
Like Noctambulant before it, Incurso begins with a foreboding symphonic track and then kicks straight in. “Where Angels Go Demons Follow” is a superb introduction, allowing some of Muezner’s Obscura flavor to seep in yet not overshadow the group’s typical neo-classical speed rush style. “Bodiless Sleeper” is next, moving back and forth between speedy arpeggiated sections and deranged grooves with the utmost ease. The track proves to be one of the instant stand outs on the record, and an excellent single at that. Following is a mountain of a track entitled “The Evangelist,” clocking in at right under 10 minutes and providing fans with a new song format. Taking care to pay attention on first listen should prevent the listener from zoning out, but thankfully the song shifts into enough distinct passages to draw one back in. That, and it’s damn good; nothing feels out of place, forced, or anything other than compositionally sound.
Introducing the album’s second half are “Servitude of Souls” and “Deus Avertat.” Both are impossibly heavy tracks with credits shared by Bryssling and Casperson, showing the bits of SoP that bands like The Faceless love to bite and are sure to please some younger listeners. “Spiritual Deception” really begins to stand out once its airy, floating mid-section comes to fruition. The lack of snare and independent guitar work makes for a unique, suspended feeling. An Obscura-esque solo section towards the end of the song is also superb, leading into the song’s chorus and then right into “No Light Spared.” The last track waiting before the album’s eight minute closer ends on a surprisingly uplifting note, sort of a calm before what is yet to come. “Apparition” begins with symphonic introduction, making it clear that this is the album’s last hurrah. The strings don’t stop when the band comes in, however; they continue throughout the entire song, making for another excellent layer on top of the already complex counterpoint. Following a dreary interlude about two minutes in is one of the album’s most punishing moments, immediately breaking down into a half time groove full of tension and continuing to twist on. The song’s end features sublime bass playing by Casperson before turning over the reins and the tonality of the song to Bryssling and Muezner. Following a couple of solos, the song degenerates into a dissonant and deranged ending carried by piano and hyperactive guitar, effectively ending the album.
Incurso shows progression while staying true to the band’s sound, easily keeping longtime fans and newcomers in its sights. No other band is as easily accessible, yet so full of depth and substance to keep every kind of listener coming back. It’s no surprise that multiple members of the group have hands in other major death metal outfits, as the sheer amount of talent featured on this record is incredible. If you are interested in dynamic death metal with a classical touch and songs that don’t fuse together after a listen, you’re in luck, Incurso satisfies all those needs and more.