Debut albums can be strange beasts, made at a point when a band moves from the demo or E.P stage into a more involved project, one which gives them a bigger canvas to play with.
It should be a point in the bands career when they begin to blossom, come of age, but it also can be a minefield of problems and show up a band not ready or lacking depth, the début album therefore is one of the most important steps for a new band.
Incassum are at that stage. ‘Rite of passage’ is exactly that, a début album that has to be right. Fortunately they have been working their ideas through since their early conception in 2004 and the 2007 demo ‘In Vain’, ironing out issues and sharpening a sound that best represents them.
Its straight in with ‘Cut Loose’ all Slayer riffing and unapologetic, but when the melody looms it’s a genuine surprise, this is melodic metal dancing with brutal metal constantly on the cusp of breaking out into a fight with one another.
Some bands throw everything at an idea in the hope of something sticking, all too often complicating an otherwise good idea, but Incassum have too much momentum and self-assurance to let this happen, carving out riffs like ‘Redemption’, guitarists Chris Taylor and Andrew Snowden play metal with a healthy respect for those gone before, but constantly reaching for just outside the comfort zone, still looking for intriguing twists.
‘Walk alone’ starts as if its going to be something very special, and develops into just that, potentially being a massive song for Incassum, its mature song writing building mountains of size and grace, with Incassum seemingly able to evoke epic with ease and a deft of hand that eludes some bands.
Just when you put together Incassum’s sound they define it with ‘Blood Scared Banner’, it’s what you want Incassum to play, even before you realise it, resplendent with an almost Lamb of God delivery.
There’s an enormous amount of textures on the album, not just the instrumental of ‘Behold the Day’ but the excellent ‘World’s Fear’ with its storm of vocals stalking through the depths of heavy. Sharleen Kennedy’s vocals are indeed one of the key factors in ‘Rite of Passage’s success, and this becomes more and more obvious throughout the album, particularly when supported by the male vocals during ‘Tie My hands’ it’s very much Angela Gossow with an eye to the grandiose.
Incassum may well have created a gateway album for those wanting to move from thrash and metal into more symphonic metal and vice versa, it’s a space few bands can stand within, but Incassum make it their own.
‘Rite of Passage’ is filled with promise, with solid moves and striking starting points for the band, it’s a strong punch in what eventually could turn into a knockout blow in a live situation.