This is my favorite death metal album.
Let's talk about melody in death metal for a second here, and not in the Dark Tranquility toolbox sense that somehow became popular amongst swoopy haircuts. Because, as percussive and heavy as Incantation is, the main thrust of these songs is the melody. Sure things are a bit chromatic and the tonal center might float around a bit, but, if you listen closely, you should be able to hum every riff on this record.
Take intro to the first song. Do you hear that shit? That intro has one of my favorite tricks. Dudes lead off with the second part of the two part riff which creates a really cool, almost polyrhythmic effect, since the strong beats are in a flux for a second.
At the best moments on this record, crushing primal riffs evoke images of planets colliding and primordial ooze coalescing into a Cambrian explosion. See Christening the Afterbirth at ~2:05-2:50. Holy shit. I think the lyrics are mostly about hating Jesus, but it works better for me if I just think about boiling seas getting hit by meteors and the formation of amino acids.
Tempos flow from hyper tremolo-picking to funeral dirges completely organically; this is not a beatdown happy meathead mosh record. Incantation mastered offsetting the melody and rhythm of a speed-picked melodic passage with a mid-paced counterpoint. See Deliverance of Horrific Prophecies from ~1:21-1:40. The melody is established during the 4/4 speed-picking part, then recontextualized so satisfyingly into the pummeling 6/4 mid-paced section. Genius!
At Central Illinois Metalfest a few months ago, Incantation played this album start to finish. I'm completely proud to say that I too played that show. In conclusion, I played a show with Incantation when they played Onward to Golgotha in its entirety.