The time has come for Sincarnate to release their sophomore album, In Nomine Homini, on their old trusty companion Hatework . After a small pause (4 years since their last release, the EP Nothing Left to Give) and some line up changes (a continuous come-and-go of several drummers), the band has finally found a stable formula and what better way to celebrate it than releasing a new album. The album will come out next week, on April the 1st, when the band will play a special release show in Fabrica opening for the Czech band Root. And no, this is not an April fool’s day, the album is real and so is Sincarnate‘s determination.
A collection of 9 songs, with a total length of almost an hour, this album is definitely a big step ahead compared to Sincarnate‘s previous works. The first thing that struck me after I listened to this album was the abundancy of Latin and catholic choruses, which, if used correctly, can indeed create a religious atmosphere. Even if Sincarnate are not the first ones to use this combination, I must admit that it fits their music well and sometimes it even hooks you. The best example is the first track, Attende Domine, which after the spoken intro in another dead language (Aramaic, I assume), unleashes a whole arsenal of catchy riffs, choruses and blast beats which made me think the guys wanted to strip Batushka off their recently acquired glory.
Fortunately that was just an impression and after some middle eastern wailings, Agra Bat Mahlat slowly creeps in on you. This second song is immense, with a strange atmosphere and a feeling of hopelessness. Blast beats mix with slow, doomy parts, while the 2 guitars spew forth their riffs in a tragic dance. This track has all what it takes to become a live classic, just give it time and you’ll see.
After such a furious song, Curriculum Mortiis erupts with a wall of blast beats while the choirboys chant about “beati misericordes” and “beati pauperes”. Each song on this album is a continuation of the one before it, making this album a perfect circle and Curriculum Mortiis makes no difference. Fast, aggressive parts alternate with slow, aggressive parts, so basically the terror does not stop, everything is a continuous whirlwind of chaos and hate. Towards who or whom, well, you’ll need to buy the album and read the lyrics to find that out.
She of the Left Hand begins with a woman giving birth to something horrible, which will haunt/stalk you all through the rest of the album. Again, we have the same recipe, fast/mid tempo/double bass drumming, mixed with some wicked riffs and nasty growls. Rather a slow song, She of the Left Hand is the perfect legacy of Sincarnate‘s doom origins and shows exactly the way this band evolved into the horrible monster it is today.
In Nomine Homini, the title track, slowly crawls out of its (c)old grave while the vocals cry in the name of the father. This track is also the first one where I could finally hear the crunchy bass guitar, which was almost absent until then. The short middle eastern guitar influences are very well chosen, contributing to this aura of mysterium the song has. In Nomine Homini is a great track and it perfectly captures in only 6 mins the whole essence of the album.
The song ends with a short monologue of a man who threatens some dude that he’ll burn him at the stake, making the transition to the 6th track, the Dostoevsky inspired song The Grand Inquisitor. This track opens in a slow and heavy way, with double bass drum and crunchy guitar riffs. Marius‘s guttural vocals are at their best on this song, fitting like a glove with the rest of the instruments. One of the slowest songs of the album, The Grand Inquisitor allows the listener to catch his breath until things get nasty again towards the end, which symbolize the ignition of the pyre and the torment of the poor victim who dies a slow and agonizing death under the eyes of the sadistic man of the church.
Lamentatio Christi is a sad song, despite its high speed tempo. The song describes the inner turmoil Christ is going through before being put on the cross, a sacrifice he’s not sure is really worth taking:
“Into the depths of my heart, I know I need no reason,
To die for them, as you would like…”
The sorrow he’s feeling in his mortal heart is emphasized by the 2 guitars which combine their sad riffs into one single lament.
As the end of the album is drawing near, Dies Illa begins with a mid paced section then moves quite rapidly into another storm of blast beats and insane riffs. This Latin theme of the “Day of Wrath” describes the judgement day when the last trumpet sounds before the throne of god, dividing the gathered souls between redemption and eternal damnation. The tragic momentum is again emphasized by a short doom intermezzo which then quickly transforms into some insane blasts accompanied by the cold, surgical riffing.
The last chapter of this spiritual voyage through the history of man, L̄iwyᾱṯᾱn is probably my favorite track of this album. The song slowly opens with a melancholic female voice who then fades away and turns into what we love best: aggression. For the last time on this album we’ll hear the chorus chanting in the background for the glory of the great dragon of the deep. The discrete keyboards provide a mystical effect to this horrifying atmosphere, closing the song in the circle I was talking about above.
Overall this album is one hell of a solid work, with a monstrous execution and an impressive result: 9 songs full of hate, melancholy, emotion and aggression. I was saying earlier about the line up changes which took place in Sincarnate over the years. In 2016 they co-opted the young but extremely talented drummer Andrei Jumuga and this album turned out the way it did also because of him. His insane style of drumming is one of the best things that ever happened to this band. Now they can finally play as fast or as technical as they want because they can afford it. And that should be truly rewarding.
After spinning this album multiple times, I really think the only thing which needs to be sort of improved are the vocals, as they sometimes sound a little too flat and monotonous. These death metal growls have been one of Sincarnate‘s trademark, but after this album I really think they need to be changed a bit. The lyrics are amazing, some of the best I’ve ever read lately but it’s a real shame they are incomprehensible for the most part, thus considerably decreasing the impact/message of the songs. Maybe the band can search slowly but surely for another vocal range, one which will help improve the whole concept and which will provide the lyrics their full, deserved credit.
I cannot end this rather long review without mentioning the superb album cover, drawn by Flaviu Moldovan (Flaviu Moldovan Drawing). The guy did a really good job, pointing out certain elements which can be discovered only by reading the lyrics of this album. I am looking forward to the release of In Nomine Homini and I am really glad that this band has finally found its path and has delivered such a solid and interesting album. Yes, this is not an easy listening and you’ll need time (and patience) to spin this album over and over again, but I can assure you it will be worth every second.
But does that really come as a surprise? Not at all, it’s just a confirmation of their talent.
In Nomine Homini Track List:
1. Attende Domine
2. Agrat Bat Mahlat
3. Curriculum Mortis
4. She-of-the-Left-Hand (Sophia Pistis)
5. In Nomine Homini
6. The Grand Inquisitor
7. Lamentatio Christi
8. Dies Illa
Sincarnate Line Up:
Marius – Vocals
Giani – Guitars
Cristi – Guitars
Andrei Z.- Bass
Andrei J.- Drums