Incantation are a ferocious, mercilessly brutal outfit that is known for death metal, black metal, and grindcore -- the words "pop" and "mainstream" are not in their vocabulary. The band has enjoyed a small underground cult following since the early '90s, and their followers (both American and European) love the fact that their particular brand of extreme metal is so far from the mainstream. Incantation have all of the ingredients that death metal and grindcore enthusiasts crave: insanely fast tempos, an obsession with Satanism and the Occult, and choked, grunting, evil-sounding vocals; in other words, everything that is guaranteed to intimidate mainstream audiences and frighten them away. However, metalheads have been quick to point out that Incantation aren't the sort of band that play at an ultra-fast tempo 100-percent of the time. While some death metal/black metal and grindcore bands never slow things down, Incantation have been willing to change tempos a lot. But whether the Pennsylvanians are playing fast, slow, or somewhere in between, their work never ceases to be blistering -- they're about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
The band was founded by guitarist John McEntee in Western Pennsylvania in 1990; he assembled the band's original lineup and hired Will Rahmer (founder of the death metal unit Mortician) as lead vocalist. Rahmer was featured on Incantation's debut EP, Entrapment of Evil, which was released on the tiny Seraphic Decay label. It wasn't long before Rahmer was replaced by Craig Pillard, who stayed with the band for several years. After signing with Relapse in 1991, Incantation recorded their second EP, Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies, before providing their first full-length album, Onward to Golgotha (which employed Pillard on vocals and Jim "Eno" Roe on drums) in 1992. Incantation's subsequent Relapse albums included Mortal Throne of Nazarene in 1994, Upon the Throne of Apocalypse in 1996, Forsaken Mourning of Angelic Anguish in 1997, and Diabolical Conquest in 1998. After 2000's Infernal Storm, Incantation left Relapse and signed with Necropolis in 2001; their first Necropolis album, Blasphemy, was recorded in 2001 and released in 2002.
Over the years, Incantation have had more than their share of personnel changes. Like a lot of death metal bands, they've had a revolving door lineup. But McEntee (who's the only remaining member of the original 1990 lineup) has always held down the fort as the band's leader, guitarist, and main lyricist. Former members include, among others, Rahmer, Roe, Pillard, singer/guitarist/bassist Daniel Corchado, bassist Dan Kamp, and drummer Dave Culross (who is also a graduate of Malevolent Creation and Suffocation). Incantation celebrated their 12th anniversary in 2002, when the band's lineup included McEntee, vocalist Mike Saez, drummer Kyle Severn, and bassist Joe Lombard. The group pared down to a trio (McEntee, Lombard, and Severn) for 2004's Decimate Christendom, and again for 2006's Primordial Domination. After a long break they returned in 2012 with Vanquish in Vengeance, this time with McEntee and Severn joined by guitarist Alex Bouks and bassist Chuck Sherwood. Dirges of Elysium arrived in 2014, followed by Profane Nexus, their tenth studio long-player, in 2017. ~ Alex Henderson