Album Review: Incite - 'Oppression'.
Featuring Richie ‘son of Max’ Cavalera, Arizona’s Incite come with some weighty baggage, both in terms of musical lineage, and expectation. Neither of which, of course is their own doing, and rather than trade on the glories of Cavalera senior’s achievements, Incite proudly plough their own furrow as a modern, groove metal act. Now on their forth release, Incite have been making steady ground since they unleashed their debut album ‘The Slaughter’ in 2009. With an upgraded line-up, and numerous tours under their belt since then – including the ‘Maximum Cavalera’ package with Soulfly earlier this year – the noise merchants have put that experience into ‘Oppression’; a record built to take them to the next level.
As demonstrated during the above-named tour, Incite can clearly cut it as a live act. The good news however, is that they are just as blistering on record as they are on stage. Taking their tight, high energy aggression-fuelled stage presence and distilling it neatly into ten tracks, ‘Oppression’ is the sound of four angry young men, with musical chops to match their attitude.
The first pummelling arrives in the form of ‘New Surrender’. With a gloomy Twin Peaks-style intro creating a sense of dread, what follows is a barrage of anvil-heavy drums, frenetic guitars and Cavalera’s ferocious bark. It’s menacingly measured attack, which sets the listener up perfectly for what’s to follow.
‘Lost Reality’ is up next, and it’s here that the ‘groove’ element of the band’s sound kicks in. With the BMP varying from to ‘stun’ to ‘attack’, it’s a relentless onslaught, with echoes of genre-leading kings Pantera. ‘Forced Into Life’, which appears later, follows suit; groove-laden with lashings of guitars that alternate from harmony to staccato riffing.
The band’s influences may be myriad, but some shine through clearer than others, and it’s no surprise to find that lead single ‘Stagnant’, carries hints of Sepultura. With its on-point drumming, courtesy of the supremely talented Derek Lennon Lopez, whose technicality underpins the entire album, it’s a brilliant piece of aural brutality. The drummer’s performance also shines all over the title track, with its double-kick pre-chorus and frenzied break-down sections.
Lopez isn’t alone however, and the guitar playing abilities of recent addition Dru ‘Tang’ Rome are unquestionable. Though precise, his playing is never over the top or needlessly flashy, instead choosing melodious, sometimes harmonious passages that complement the song. Tang’s licks are all over latest single ‘No Remorse’, as the aforementioned ‘Stagnant’, proving that melody and heaviness do mix.
It’s outright band leader Cavalera however, who defines ‘Oppression’, putting in simply exhaustive performances throughout, none more so than on the blood vessel bursting ‘Life’s Disease’. Squeezing every ounce of energy out of his, what must surely be ragged vocal chords, Richie deserves a medal for making it through the recording (presumably) without passing out.
If there was any doubt about Incite’s musical agenda, it’s penultimate track ‘I Want It All’s scream of ‘heavy f*****g metal’ – supplied by Sirius XM DJ and long-time fan Jose Mangin – that dispels any notion. Says Cavalera of the release: “It’s not really about fast; it’s more about putting that evil doom groove vibe into it, where it’s heavy and it’s powerful”. It’s an appropriate summation. A word of warning to the sensitive however; mellow, it ain’t.
By Eamon O'Neill on 4th May 2016.
'Oppression' is out now, via minusHEAD music.