Incantation (Sect of Vile Divinities) - Southern Tier Brewing Co. (Warlock)
Sect of Vile Divinities
East coast death metal legends Incantation offers up one of the year’s best metal releases with Sect of Vile Divinities. It is also likely the best of their more recent records, lean but sizable, mean but artful. What the crisp production may lack in a textural guitar crunch it more than makes up for (and realizes beautifully) with its rich and bellowing lower end. The sound is immense – at once a clear conception of a band in brutal synchronicity, but also a gargantuan cumulative force, desolate and fiery and dark. Chuck Sherwood’s unpretentious bass playing, matched with and accompanying the pummeling deeper kit pieces of Kyle Severn’s percussive set-up, is an exhilarating sound.
So too are John McEntee’s gurgling, rich, full, throaty vocals – crucially a part of the ensemble, as an instrument all their own. McEntee and Sonny Lombardozzi’s guitars are dual-purposed – in their chugging, rhythmic, or (in slower sections) deliciously slogging patterns they propel the music into swirling passages masterfully. As leads they squeal and scream, in particular, shining on a stand-out cut like the compact ‘Guardians from the Primeval’ (the riffs here are greatly gratifying). Another stand-out track is ‘Entrails of the Hag Queen’ (seriously, the double kick drum on this one is gnarly, and those unpredictable compositional shifts between hyperpaced thrash and elongated, simmering sludge is adrenaline-pumping).
by Southern Tier Brewing Co.
Warlock is brewed to enchant your palate on its own & also to counterpoint Southern Tier's Imperial Ale, Pumking. Make your own black magic by carefully pouring this Imperial Stout into a goblet.
Dark and mysterious, reanimate your senses with Warlock’s huge roasted malt character, moderate carbonation & a spiced pumpkin pie aroma.
What better for heavy, rich sounds than an imperial stout?
Sect of Vile Divinities is one of those death metal discs so masterfully constructed that it practically holds you under duress, demanding it be replayed immediately upon conclusion. Even with both fantastic compositional and performance aspects within both breakneck death metal and chugging mid-tempo doom-influenced sections, the album is keenly bereft of pause or unnecessary flowery ambiance. The relentlessness of this disc gives it that immediately rewarding spark. And yet it is undeniably re-playable. Within metal this has been a near-specific quality found in the material produced by these veteran outfits – even just in death metal, in recent years albums by Exhumed (2019’s Horror), Possessed (2019’s Revelations of Oblivion), Wombbath (2015’s Downfall Rising), and Broken Hope (2017’s Mutilated and Assimilated) have succeeded and impressed with flying colors through a similarly assured, unshackled, and indulgently uncomplicated vision of the genre.
And what better for heavy, rich sounds than an imperial stout? Admittedly, among that heavy subset, the modestly loaded 8.6% ABV Warlock from Southern Tier Brewing Co. isn’t the most daunting possibility available, but it is a satisfying and delectably spicy pumpkin variant nonetheless. Upon sampling, one finds that that lower ABV (of course it’s relative, where imperials are concerned) fits with a beer like this. As a more approachable heavy-hitter, Warlock delivers its brand of bravado through its notably tasteful, but never overpowering, pumpkin flavoring. The depth of alcohol content is not everything, assuredly! (You should know this by now!) Still, one can easily get lost in this stout, which additionally can boast of not being balance-annihilating or vision-impairing with such immediate tenacity.
Southern Tier are somewhat known for their various pumpkin-flavored beers. Considering Warlock one can see why – it certainly fares better than some more widely distributed pumpkin variants. So much so that, along with the musical pairing we have provided, Southern Tier’s stout would match perfectly with a seasonal dish: perhaps most fittingly with a Thanksgiving turkey platter? Fuck, I could go for that right about now. But, of course, with all this darkness and moodiness (stouts! death metal! 2020, for the love of all that is holy!), the black goblet is raised high and ready to be sipped, so we cannot help but feel positively enchanted, possessed even, by a seasonal Incantation (ha!?) and a strong-sipping spirit.