If sound could travel into outer space, then Blood Incantation
would undoubtedly be the ever-expanding universe’s house band. The Denver quartet has built a reputation as a harbinger of brutal death metal, but it's always had an ethereal element that makes one ponder what's beyond the horizon.
Cosmic chaos is a constant in Blood Incantation’s musical style, but the band dug even deeper into galactic mysteries on 2019’s Hidden History of the Human Race
, with its alien album art by famed sci-fi artist Bruce Pennington
, and 2022's ambient EP, Timewave Zero
. Is Blood Incantation a conduit for the space gods, or a direct descendant of the extraterrestrial overlords? It's certainly evident that the group is tuning into wavelengths other bands aren’t privy to in this corner of the Milky Way.
“I think when somebody goes into listening to or watching Blood Incantation, it’s definitely important to come to it with an open mind. If you are coming to Blood Incantation to just be listening to some knuckle-dragging, meat-and-potatoes metal, you will be disappointed. But if you come into Blood Incantation with an open mind, [it will] be like, ‘This band is going to take me on a crazy, cosmic, psychedelic journey, and by the end of it, I’m going to be in a different consciousness,’” drummer Isaac Faulk says. “It makes me pretty stoked when people come up to me at our show and they’re like, ‘Dude, I just took a bunch of acid and that was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.' It’s like, ‘Hell, yeah!’”
Blood Incantation is back stateside after months on the European festival circuit for a proper North American tour with Full of Hell
, God is War
and Vermin Womb
. They'll be in Denver on Tuesday, September 13, at the Gothic Theatre
Blood Incantation performed Timewave Zero
in its entirety at the Gothic in February, which caught some fans off guard, Faulk recalls, but that was only further proof that worldly boundaries don’t apply to this band.
“I think that at least now we have solidified [that the audience should] expect the unexpected. When we did the ambient release show at the Gothic Theatre at the end of February, I would say a large percentage, definitely a sizable amount of people, did not know it was going to be an ambient show, even though we advertised it everywhere as that,” he says, adding that he heard a number of audience members asking, “What the hell is this?”
But that doesn’t mean the concept was lost on everyone: “I had a lot of people come up to me being like, ‘What a cool thing to show all of these metalheads something else.’ We all take a lot of pride in that. After we did that show, it was like we did that and now we have a lot of different options of how we can approach the band. That kind of opened a lot of possibilities for us,” Faulk says.
Given the prolonged pandemic break after the release of Hidden History of the Human Race
, on Tuesday fans can expect a helping of Blood Incantation’s distorted trippiness, with elements of prog, obscure electronic sounds and scathing death metal. While the lengthier songs are psychedelic in their own right, the 2019 vinyl releases also came with an extra pamphlet — “Stargate Research Society presents: A meditative inquiry on the Mystery & Nature of human consciousness, as revealed by Blood Incantation” — that includes a list of 21 books spanning everything from Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World”
to philosophical writings by Joseph Campbell
and Ram Dass
In that sense, Blood Incantation is a thinking man’s metal. After all, how many modern “death metal” releases come with a “for your consideration” reading list? “A lot of people think metalheads are airheads like Wayne’s World.
But actually, most metalhead metalheads who are really deep into the culture are just nerds,” Faulk says.
“We try to make every album an experience in totality. When you’re listening to an album, it’s really awesome to have a lot of stuff to look at, read and get into this world while you’re listening. You've got to really invest your whole experience into those 35 minutes that is the album,” he adds. “I think our music is definitely more for sitting with the music and really letting it wash over you throughout that entire time and get invested in it.”
Or as Heraclitus once said: “If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.”
Blood Incantation, 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 13, Gothic Theatre, 3263 South Broadway. Tickets are $22.50-$25.50.