Aug 102010

Do you like keyboard-driven, Gothenburg-style melodic death metal that’s catchy as ebola and both beautiful and evil enough to keep a serrated edge on it? Well, if you do, have we got a band for you: Incarnia.

Incarnia is from Montreal, Scandinavia. Okay, maybe Montreal is in Canada (we read that somewhere), but Incarnia’s musical hearts reside in the land of bands like Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium, late-stage Hypocrisy, Mors Principium Est, and (more recently) Zonaria.

My sometimes collaborator IntoTheDarkness urged me to listen to Incarnia’s just released debut album, Proclamation (on Panoptic Records). His tastes and mine don’t always mesh, but man, they sure did this time.

For a young band’s debut release, Proclamation is a remarkably assured, remarkably sophisticated offering of melody-drenched melodeath that also triggers the headbang reflex quite nicely. The more we’ve listened, the more massively hooked we’ve become (more after the jump, including a sample track to hear . . .)

The production on Proclamation is absolutely aces high, which is important, because the music has an epic quality that’s enhanced by the brilliance of the mix and the sharpness of the sound.

Most of the songs include grinding buzzsaw guitar rhythms or staccato bursts of fuzzed-out riffage, as well as machine-gun drumming, and songs like “Carrion” even allow bass sweeps to take the lead. But as confident and capable as those instrumentalists are, the keyboards are the star of this show.

Vincent Grenier provides a cornucopia of sounds — pulsating rhythms and blazing runs on “Festival of Atonement”, the piano melody that organizes the music on “Led by Tears”, episodes of swirling ambience on “Carrion”, the beautiful soaring anthem that finishes the closing instrumental, “Affinity”, and much more.

There are more keyboard solos on this album than guitar solos, but there are some soulfully sweet guitar leads on songs like “Where Fallen Apostles Assemble” and “Affinity” that achieve a wonderful tone.

And then there are the vocals. There is no clean singing on Proclamation, but Marc Alexandre proves that you can still really sing — that you can still achieve range and emotion and even melody — while intelligibly giving voice to the lyrics through growls and double-bladed rasping howls.

But having said all of this, what elevates Proclamation well above the average debut is the unusual maturity evident in the songwriting. These 7 songs beckon you to return again and again. Their melodies catch in your head, and their movement from the bestial to the sublime resonate: They feed that yearning some of us sometimes have for both aggressive extremity and memorable melody.

“Yersinia Pestis” isn’t the best example on the album of everything Incarnia is capable of pulling off, but it’s the best example of that melding of evil-sounding power and epic majesty. And it’s important to understand that “yersinia pestis” is the name of the bacteria that causes the black plague. Because that explains the lyrics.

And the lyrics are yet one more instance of Incarnia’s unexpected , ahead-of-their-age, achievements. I haven’t been able to get the damned chorus from “Yersinia Pestis” out of my head. I’ve been drawing stares as I voicelessly mouth the words, “Everyone will suffer!”

I destroyed my hearing long ago, but with significant help from IntoTheDarkness, we’ve been able to cobble together most of the words to “Yersinia Pestis”. Bearing in mind what that title means, read them as you listen to the song (and if you like this music as much as we do, you can download it at iTunes or Amazon, or you can buy a CD via this link).

If you can help us fill in the blanks, leave a comment or send us an email. We’ll be asking the band for help too. More songs can be heard on the band’s MySpace page.

UPDATE: Before you leave a comment with suggestions on the lyrics, especially if you actually know what they are, please read the post we put up after this one announcing a contest. It’s at this location.

Incarnia: Yersinia Pestis


Dear god, aid my soul tonight.
Spare me this wretched pain.
Torturous, __.
From the shadows it will rise.
Evil, take form __
Across the dust, through the fields, lurking eyes of fire.

As the rats reclaim the earth, every last one will fall.
Insatiable thirst for human life, human life,
Everyone will suffer.

Inject the sickness.
Deteriorate through human genome, strand by strand.
Bow down before the _ _, blind and merciless.
Close your eyes and accept your judgment.

As the rats reclaim the earth, every last one will fall.
Insatiable thirst for human life, human life,
Everyone will suffer.

Incurable, incomparable, devouring without remorse.
Relentless, reckless, your city of pestis.

Inject the sickness.
Deteriorate through human genome, strand by strand.
Foolish and meek, devour this _ of a mad ____.
From the shadows it will rise.
Evil, take form,

As the rats reclaim the earth, every last one will fall.
Insatiable thirst for human life, human life,
Everyone will suffer.

Looking toward the stars, your last words are a prayer
Just to see who takes this pain away
Mercy is __.

  14 Responses to “INCARNIA”

  1. I like it. Yes, I do.

    Good job with the lyrics. The only one I think I managed to get that you didn’t is:

    “Deteriorate through human genome,strand by strand.”

    I’d take the ? out, since it doesn’t seem to make sense as a question, and with the genome, it’s a reference to DNA strands.

    There’s another line before “From the shadows it will rise.”

  2. I’m still trying to get some of the lyrics figured out. Having what you and ITD came up with helps, but I think I’ve listened to enough of these kinds of vocals be to able to make progress on my own and can actually make out quite a bit without consulting what you’ve posted here. I wish I had a better speaker system that could make better use of my computer’s capabilities.

    I’m gonna put the song on my iPod and see if I have better luck there – sometimes I catch stuff on it that I don’t when listening to an MP3 on the computer and sometimes even a CD with my CD player. Of course, by then, the band may have responded and given you the correct lyrics.

    • I hunted like hell on the internet to find the lyrics, which of course didn’t come with my iTunes download of the album, but no luck. Don’t know if the lyrics are included with the physical copy of the CD that’s available for order. The band still hasn’t responded to my message — which I should have sent before finishing and posting the review. I’m curious about the other songs’ lyrics too.

      • Before I head off to work…

        I think it’s supposed to be “As the rats reclaim the earth, every last one will fall”, (with a pause in reclaim). I’m not 100% sure on that though, but it fits with the black plague theme.

        Anyhoo, quite a find you have here. On the “to get” lsit it goes. Now if only had some cash to spare to pick up some more tunes. Eventually…

  3. It’s a good song, but the arpeggio riff got old pretty fast. I don’t have good enough speakers to try and decode what you guys haven’t got too yet.

    Good find.

    • Thanks. For another taste of the band’s music that’s probably more representative of the album as a whole, I’d recommend “Carrion”, which is up on their MySpace page.

  4. Holy shit. I just read this, and almost exploded. Man this is the greatest review I’ve ever read and I’m EXTREMELY heart-warmed. I read it over 3 times already!

    I can’t explain how grateful I am that you enjoyed our music / whole package as much as you say you did, and I’m VERY appreciative that you’re spreading the word as you are man. I’m really VERY happy, as is the rest of the band!

    (If you didn’t catch on by now, this is Todd from the band!)

    Thank you SO much.
    – Todd.

    I sent you a copy of the complete lyrics on myspace, good luck to everyone for the sweepstakes! (Which is an awesome idea btw, again, THANK YOU)

    fyi. I’m in university studying Microbiology & Immunology, hence the inspiration! haha

    • Thank you for checking in! Glad you liked the review. And I have a feeling if we could somehow put together a list of people in extreme metal bands who are studying Micro and Immunology, it would be a very short list. Like, maybe, a list of one. Impressive!

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