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Supreme Pain - "Divine Incarnation" (CD)

Supreme Pain - "Divine Incarnation" CD cover image

"Divine Incarnation" track listing:

1. Dawn of a New Era
2. The Dark Army
3. Damned Creation
4. Treasonous Disease
5. Trapped in Heresy
6. Spiritual Sickness
7. Divine Incarnation
8. Putrefied Beauty
9. The Fallen Kingdom
10. Towards Hell

Reviewed by on January 7, 2012

"'Divine Incarnation' relates facets of legendary 'old-school' death metal bands, all the while keeping their music distinct and flowing."

Dutch death metal, in all its greatness, has never received as much attention as bands from Florida, New York and Stockholm, Sweden. Holland doesn’t seem as bloated with bands as America, and the country doesn’t have a blueprint for what their bands are supposed to sound like. Asphyx didn’t spawn a massive scene of down-tempo death metal bands. God Dethroned’s melodic aggression didn’t lead to a grass roots movement, nor did Pestilence’s progressive compositions. Supreme Pain’s latest “Divine Incarnation” exemplifies this scene’s lack of stylistic definitions and expectations.

If one were restricted to a categorical explanation for how “Divine Incarnation” sounds, old-school death metal would be the closest definition one could give. Supreme Pain doesn’t look to modern elements found in progressive, technical or brutal death. “Divine Incarnation” relates facets of legendary “old-school” death metal bands, all while keeping their music distinct and flowing. “Divine Incarnation” may sound like other bands, but there is no fragmentation. They take all of these influences and create an album that is undeniably a creation of Supreme Pain.

Flow is one of Supreme Pain’s main assets. “Dawn of a New Era” initiates action through militaristic drumming and melodic solos. This intro functions much like a bugle setting a cavalry charge, because the following track subsists on pure, blasting speed. Some of the slower, non-blast parts consist of simple, low-end rhythms that have hook-worthy properties lacking in the short-attention rhythms of tech death. This type of riffing brings to mind Malevolent Creation, especially during the churning chords that initiate “Damned Creation.” This track’s faster string play recalls Suffocation, as does the vocals of Adrie Kloosterwaard (Sinister).

Comparisons to Sinister will arise, especially considering they have Kloosterwaard. Musically, the group’s approach will also bring Sinister comparisons, which is not a bad thing. However, going back to the Suffocation comparison, the group has a definite East Coast death metal influence. Sure, everybody and their mom uses squealing harmonics, but Immolation and Cannibal Corpse made it popular. Props goes out to those New York bands (Cannibal Corpse originated from Buffalo), who deserve credit for inspiring the quick string bends on the title track. The group deserves a giant heap of accolades for their flowing rhythms and guitar solos. “Trapped in Heresy” opens in “Hell Awaits” fashion, in a storm of whammy-bar solos that continues even when the rest of the band joins in.

Supreme Pain doesn’t reinvent the wheel with “Divine Incarnation.” They just make expert use of the tools handed down to them by the innovators of this sordid style of metal. Fans of death metal, no matter what fold, should give “Divine Incarnation” a try.

Highs: Great flow, speed and guitar solos

Lows: "Divine Incarnation" will not blow minds with its originality.

Bottom line: "Divine Incarnation" should appease most death metal fans, regardless of style or originality.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)