Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spawn Of Possession - Incurso

Christian Münzner has been rather prolific in the past few years with Obscura and now Spawn Of Possession. Now if you read my earlier reviews of Spawn Of Possession, you'd understand that I found their debut Cabinet to be pretty fucking cool and the overproduced Noctambulant to be an impotent mess. I was hoping for Incurso to be like the debut but expected it to be even more superficial than Noctambulant. I was pleasantly surprised as the album is a pretty healthy medium between both previous releases, but with a more progressive-tinged aggression.

Progressive technical death metal is a subgenre that often falls to self-indulgence and needless guitar fondling. Spawn Of Possession fell to this long before the progressive elements began to shine through their music, and on Incurso these elements are realized and implemented quite well. "The Evangelist" is the first real teaser of this new style. Although the sweep-filled intro isn't necessary, the main riff is pretty memorable and crops up several times throughout the ten-minute track that evolves as it goes. The guitarwork is more melodious and flows better, but obviously this might make the album feel flimsy to some death metal purists. Unlike on Noctambulant though, I'm not offended by this as the improvements to songwriting and structuring make up for it.

There are some heavier tracks on Incurso to make up for the more flowery progressive tracks as well. "Servitude Of Souls" is by and far the heaviest track on the album with its pounding drums and addicting refrain. "Deus Avertat" is no slouch either with it's blend of fast-paced noodling and heavier riffing. Some of the initial tracks like "Where Angels Go Demons Follow" are really insipid though and actually made me feel a bit disappointed prior to listening to the rest of the album. However the musicianship throughout Incurso is, obviously, fantastic.

New Spawn member Erland Casperson (ex-Blood Red Throne) applies some highly talented bass playing to the mix with his varied fingerstyle techniques. I have a lot of respect for Casperson and his work with other bands like Decrepit Birth and Deeds Of Flesh as well as the aforementioned Blood Red Throne. His work on Incurso and in particular the tracks "Deus Avertat," "No Light Spared," and "The Evangelist" further reinforces my opinion of him as one of the best Norwegian bassists of the last decade.

Christian is no slouch either. He's a guitar monster and this album features his most potent chops to date, although once again the album is lacking in the brutality department. The mixing leaves for a weak if barely audible low-end, and the dry guitar tone is pretty irritating. It sounds a bit less overproduced than Noctambulant though, which spawned (pun intended) hordes of mindless clones. It just goes to show how lifeless music is so easy to compose and copy.

I can't say I enjoy the stupid symphonic tracks like the intro "Abodement" and the eight-minute progressive symphonic mess that is "Apparition" either. Symphonics in technical death metal are absolutely worthless and have no place amongst the flurry of ferocity that the music is supposed to embody. However they do attempt to merge these concepts on these two tracks just like they did on the intro and outro of Noctambulant. It's a failed attempt, but an attempt nonetheless.

I do like Incurso though. It's a good album that improves upon its predecessor while still retaining what made that album popular. The progressive elements fit this style of technical death metal perfectly, and it might be Christian's influence on the songwriting process that caused this change. Whatever the case, although it might not be as good as Cabinet or very original in general, Incurso is still a solid release.

7.25 out of 10


1. Abodement

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

9. Apparition

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