You ARE the Stargate: Blood Incantation’s Starspawn, Reviewed

“In space no one can hear you scream.”

So reads the tagline of Ridley Scott’s scifi horror masterpiece Alien. In many ways Denver, Colorado’s Blood Incantation are the opposite of the film’s titular murder machine. Whereas H.R. Giger’s creation is sleek, lithe, and silent, Blood Incantation are gnarled, massive, and they want to make sure that you know it. If there is one thing these two beasts have in common, it is that they both go for the throat.

Only a year removed from their debut EP, Interdimensional Extinction, the band have greatly expanded their sound even further into the inky abyss of space. While the songs on the EP had their stranger moments they were all firmly in the wheelhouse of death metal. The band’s first full length Starspawn sees them dipping into the realms of doom and even kraut and post rock with, ahem, stellar results.


Blood Incantation opens the album with their epic, and epically titled, “Vitrification of Blood (Part 1).” The number kicks off with a crusher of a riff reminiscent of Incantation or Domination era Morbid Angel, but this is merely the engines warming up. Takeoff occurs roughly a minute in as the otherworldly lead work of vocalist/guitarist Paul Riedl lifts the song off the ground and never looks back. Once the song gets going it turns into an absolutely labyrinthine monster, twisting, turning and evolving without ever repeating itself. In fact, one of the standout elements of Starspawn is the lack of anything resembling traditional song structure, leaving it feeling much more free-form and exciting than the majority of its peers.

The band is unafraid to incorporate other styles to augment their already interdimensional death metal sound. “Vitrification of Blood (Part 1)” features a lengthy, almost funeral doom style slow dirge before teasing the release of an absolute storm, only to drop out into beautiful clean guitars. Perhaps the most unexpected moment comes midway through “Hidden Species (Vitrification of Blood Part 2)”, as the bottom falls out of the song and gives way to a triumphant and reverb-soaked guitar that would make any 90’s post-rock band weep with jealousy. These sections hint at a prettier side to Blood Incantation, but “Meticulous Soul Devourment” showcases it in full. Based solely on name you’re probably expecting a full on meteor-esque rager, but you’re instead greeted by 4 minutes of beautiful, classical guitar work that offers a nice break from all the riffs and conspiracy theories.

This is to say nothing of the individual performances on display here. On top of a pile of riffs, guitarists Paul Riedl and Morris Kolontyrsky offer some absolutely soaring lead work reminiscent of the pulse pounding solos of early 90’s Swe-death. Riedl, also serving as the band’s vocalist, provides some too-grotesque-to-be-human vocals that sound like the death of a galaxy on tracks like “Chaoplasm.” Meanwhile drummer Isaac Faulk is an absolute madman on the drums, rolling out double bass like he’s sprinting through a marathon, and the fretless bass work of Jeff Barrett adds a dimension rarely heard in death metal.

Once the cosmic dust has settled, it’s clear that Blood Incantation have crafted one of the finest and strangest death metal albums of the year; its brevity is at once its greatest weakness and greatest strength. At a scant 34 or so minutes it leaves you wanting so much more, but makes it quite easy to fall into a loop of successive listens. Starspawn is fun, forward-thinking while decidedly retro (look at that straight out of ’93 cover), and heavier than dark matter. Once you’ve traversed this stargate, you may never want to come back.

4.5 out of 5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


Starspawn is out on August 19th. You can preorder it here, and go give Dark Descent Records a like here.

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Published on: August 1, 2016

Filled Under: Reviews

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  • Lacertilian

    This album destroys!
    Racked up a few replays already, could have easily gone for another 10 minutes/2 tracks with no dramas.

  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Flush your 4.5 flaming toilets this record is a full blown 5

  • Dubbbz

    That day when I sat in your truck and you played the promo of this for me will always be special.

  • Eliza

    The release date for this album can’t come soon enough. Based on what I’ve heard from it I’m sure that, not only will this be one of the top albums of the year. but I’ll enjoy it greatly as well.

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    2016 – Year of The Weird Death and A Lot Of Death.

    This be a good one.

  • RJA

    Here comes another pre-order from Dark Descent! They haven’t even shipped my last one.
    Nice review Leif.

    • M C

      Don’t worry! We have six vinyl titles on the way from the plant now including Starspawn.

      • RJA

        That may have read weirdly – I meant here comes another order from me before I have even received my last one – no dig on you guys, you guys rule!

  • Abradolf Lincler

    this is some DM i can get down with

  • The Alien reference… Well, this is why you are my friendo mustache bear.

    • Leif Bearikson

      It was all I could think of looking at that album art. It’s been about a month since I’ve watched Alien…time to go back.

      • Haha, I know that feeling well. I gave Resurrection another chance this weekend. I made it a third of the way before I turned it off. I need to revisit the first again here very soon too.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    “too-grotesque-to-be-human vocals that sound like the death of a galaxy”

    Very nice, bear!

  • I know someone in particular on this blog that doesn’t like Domination era Morbid Angel. I won’t tell though. The riffs, the riffs on that album rule!

  • I had not listened to these guys before. That track did not disappoint!


  • Holy shit I need my pre order to materialize already!

  • Ayreonaut

    Tonight I am the mayor, of this horny boner lair!

  • Hans Müller

    While the EP didn’t entirely sell me on these guys, I was still unable to get over it. Something about the space theme kept me coming back. This sounds like the album might do the trick. Great review!

  • Dubbbz

    I still think the EP’s art was one of the cooler pieces released last year. So simple and so good.

    • Abradolf Lincler

      Have you picked up the new Mesarthim EP?

      • Dubbbz

        naht yet

        • Abradolf Lincler

          Fallen Empire has the vinyl for $16. pretty good deal. i will grab one friday if theyre still available

    • Leif Bearikson

      The vinyl has that laser etched on the B-Side. Very cool.

  • If death metal and outer space had sex this album would be the spawn.

  • Waynecro

    Excellent review! Thanks!

  • I knew this was a Leif’s review right from the start!

    Will check this out, Randall Thor was bragging about this one and I was curious, now your text made me press play, it was the last shot.

    Thanks to the Toilet for the daily kicking ass recommendations.

  • I once told my pops I wanted to grow up to be The Stargate. He laughed dirisively. LOOK AT ME NOW POPS.

    • James Spader come with? how about French Stewart? (yup, he was in Stargate too. the guy with the first name that’s also my last)

    • Leif Bearikson


  • Xinen

    Great review, spot on. I have to say that Dark Descent and Iron Bonehead have consistently been putting out material that satiates my musical needs. Love those labels.

  • Dagon

    This is everything I need in a death metal record

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Great review man! This may prove a years favourite.

  • well GAWL FLUSHIN’ DANG IT, this is rill gud.
    that review was out of this world, Mustacchio’s Bear. Bookayasha or what have you from bandcamp…

  • Megan Alexandra

    Yeah this feels like a special one for sure. The EP is soooo good too.