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A highly influential act, Johnstown, Pennsylvania's INCANTATION straddle the borderline between Black and Death Metal. INCANTATION are cited by many of today's acts as being a direct inspiration. INCANTATION came together in August 1989 with a line-up of erstwhile BLOOD THIRSTY DEATH members guitarist Brett Makowski and bassist Aragon Amori, plus ex-REVENANT men John McEntee and Paul Ledney, the latter of whom had also previously performed with G.G. Allin's Connecticut Cocksuckers. As 1990 drew in this line-up cut INCANTATION's inaugural rehearsal demo in January, a tape which included a cover version of HELLHAMMER's 'Third Of The Storm'.

A major fall out occurred with McEntee being left alone as Makowski, Amori and Ledney decamped en masse to found the notorious Black Metal act PROFANATICA releasing a string of highly controversial EPs. That March INCANTATION was citing a line-up of McEntee, bassist Ronnie Deo and the ex-DECAY pairing of guitarist Sal Seijo and drummer Peter Barnevic. The latter two had been located from an ad posted in a local music store whilst Deo had responded to a musicians wanted posting in the 'East Coast Rocker'. In June another set of demos was laid down. At this juncture McEntee was also acting as substitute guitarist for fellow Death Metal unit MORTICIAN. This union prompted MORTICIAN frontman Will Rahmer to act as guest vocalist for the 7" 'Entrantment Of Evil' single. After recording both Seijo and Barnevic would part ways with the band.

By August of the same year INCANTATION was back up to strength having enrolled Bill Venner on guitar and Jim Roe on drums, again located via the 'East Coast Rocker'. Unfortunately Venner's tenure was fleeting although he did provide a worthy service in executing INCANTATION's now familiar logo. As a quartet of Rahmer, McEntee, Deo and Roe Incantation performed at the October 'Day Of Death' festival in Buffalo. Meantime, 'Entrantment Of Evil' had emerged as a violet vinyl 7" in September on the Seraphic Decay label.

November 1990 saw the induction of former PUTREFACT guitarist Craig Pillard. The new guitarist had also issued a series of solo demos accredited to NOCTURNAL CRYPT including a self titled 1987 effort, 'Recrudescence Of...' in 1988 and a rehearsal tape the following year. The 'Entrantment Of Evil' sessions would be re-issued by Relapse Records in February 1991, limited to 500 red vinyl copies, with a second pressing on regular black vinyl following in May due to demand.

With Rahmer's commitments to MORTICIAN increasing his position was made vacant and Pillard subsequently stepped into the lead vocal role too. This line-up released the single 'Deliverance Of Horrific Prophecies', this November 1991, originally intended as a split EP to be shared with AMORPHIS. This outing was to be their inaugural new product for Relapse Records. The group undertook the its first North American national tour billed alongside ANAL CUNT and PHLEGM. With the dates completed in November 1992 Deo opted out.

INCANTATION brought in ex-CRUCIFER man Dan Kamp on bass for recording of the track 'Emaciated Holy Figure', donated to the track listing of the Nuclear Blast 'Death Is Just The Beginning Volume II' compilation. Further touring would see the band out on the road with AUTOPSY, VITAL REMAINS and MORGUE. However, both Roe and Kamp broke ranks following these shows.

It would be August 1993 when INCANTATION announced the recruitment of a fresh rhythm section in NECROSION bassist Dave Niedrist and DETERIOROT drummer John Brody. With a tour awaiting in the wings and recording of the debut album 'Onward To Golgotha' to be completed the band solved matters by re-employing Roe to handle drums in the studio whilst Brody learnt the material for the live setting.

'Onward To Golgotha', produced by Steve Evetts at Trax East Studios, provided a fresh perspective to the US Death Metal scene, being one of the first high profile albums not to be tarred with the Morrisound / Florida trademarks. Instead, INCANTATION went in for a swarming set of riffs, low register growls corralled by a thick, choking production. Although the record was not by any means a genre cornerstone, it did possess enough individuality to set the band on its way.

'Mortal Throne Of Nazarene' was set as the title of INCANTION's second album, a self-produced effort engineered by Garris Shipon at Excello Recording Studios in March 1994. However, following INCANTATION's second set and European dates in conjunction with SINISTER and DEADHEAD, frontman Craig Pillard broke away from the group. Before long bassist Ronnie Reo and drummer Jim Roe joined him to found WOMB, an act that evolved into DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY. Competition between DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY and INCANTATION was so fierce by this stage that at the 1994 Deathstock festival in New York Pillard's band played a full set of INCANTATION numbers just before INCANTATION themselves took the stage. Confusion reigned in Death Metal circles when an alternate mix of INCANTATION's 'Mortal Throne Of Nazarene', first issued that November, was re-released under the new title of 'Upon The Throne Of Apocalypse' with a reversed track order and a sticker proclaiming 'Pagan Disciples Of Mockery'!! (Later Pillard's mob became WOMB again but reverted to DISCIPLES OF MOCKERY for the 1999 three track promotion CD).

Amidst all this INCANTATION regrouped enlisting Duane Morris on vocals and guitar for a package tour in alliance with MORGUE, AFTERLIFE, ANAL CUNT and MORPHEUS DESCENDS. MALEVOLENT CREATION were originally slated as headliners but with their cancellation INCANTATION were elevated to headline status. With the tour rolled up the band familiarly fractured yet again, this time Brody and Niedrist bidding their farewell.

INCANTATION relocated entirely to Ohio with only founder member John McEntee creating a completely revised line up. Morris was retained as frontman with ex-BLOOD OF CHRIST bassist Randy Scott and ESCALATION ANGEL man Kyle Severn being recruited on drums.

An American tour with FEAR OF GOD and Swedes GRAVE was nearly curtailed when Scott decided not to go along for the ride. Stoically the band carried on without bass as a trio of McEntee, guitarist Duane Morris and drummer Kyle Severn. In March 1995 Mike Donnelly of DISGORGED teamed up with the band as INCANTATION performed a short tour of Mexico in 1995 sharing a bill with IMMOLATION and ACID BATH. Further confusion followed as Morris then bailed out only to return shortly after. The problem re-occurred halfway through touring as Morris upped and left once again. Daniel Corchado of Mexican acts CENOTAPH and THE CHASM was hastily drafted to complete the dates.

Donnelly was next to leave and INCANTATION took on yet another guise by pulling in bassist Mary Ciullo, MORTICIAN and DEATHRUNE man Mike Saez on guitar and a re-enlisted Will Rahmer on vocals. This unit demoed and put in three shows in New York, Pennsylvania and Cleveland.

In March 1996 McEntee and Severn were joined by MALIGNANCY bassist Kevin Hughes and vocalist / guitarist Nathan Rossi of ROTTREVORE for American dates with MORTICIAN and ANAL CUNT. Rossi would then bow out and former member Craig Pillard took the frontman mantle once again for recording of 'The Forsaken Mourning Of Angelic Anguish'. Mike Saez would also be involved in this line-up on a session basis. Hughes took his leave and once more INCANTATION called on Daniel Corchado, this time acting in the bass role. Tragically that same year former bassist Aragon Amori died.

The October 1997 mini-album, produced by Bill Korecky, features a cover of DEATH's 'Scream Bloody Gore'. Corchado would occupy the frontman spot for a burst of touring and Saez was invited onboard for American touring with VITAL REMAINS and European dates with AVULSED, ADRAMELECH and DEEDS OF FLESH. Saez would be unable to commit to later gigs and so, switching Corchado to guitar INCANTATION performed as a trio minus bass. Despite this ebb and flow of members, the 'Diabolical Conquest' album was released in April 1998 through Roadrunner Records.

In April 1998 Bob Yench, a veteran of MORPHEUS DESCENDS and BRIMSTONE, filled the bass position. INCANTATION set about touring with MORBID ANGEL and VADER but Corchado was obliged to leave mid way through these dates. With an appearance at the 'Milwaukee Metalfest' already booked the band took onboard Tom Stevens as vocalist / guitarist. Stevens had previous credits with SAVAGE DEATH, EXILE, BRIMSTONE, NOKTURNEL and MORPHEUS DESCENDS. This line-up was to undertake further shows in Canada with MORBID ANGEL but Severn was found to be ineligible to cross the Canadian border. Chris Dora of INTEGRITY, SOULLESS and DECREPIT quickly stepped in to save the day.

The band then suffered a major blow was, returning home from a gig in Dallas, Texas, their van overturned. Both McEntee and Severn were badly injured. Following the accident Severn decided to retire from the band. Clay Lytle of FATAL AGGRESSION would occupy the drum stool for INCANTATION's appearance at the 1998 'Chilean Metalfest'. Ranked alongside DEATH and CANNIBAL CORPSE the band performed to over 7'000 South American fans in one night. After the gig Lytle dropped out.

INCANTATION moved bases to Pennsylvania, recruiting a new sticksman Rick Boast of NECROTOMIE. The band hooked up with ANGEL CORPSE and Brazilians KRISIUN for the nation-wide American 'Diabolical Extermination' tour before Boast too left. Chris Dora would once again act as stand in for the band's March 1999 'Metal March Meltdown' festival in New Jersey's Asbury Park. In April Mark Perry (a.k.a. 'Tophetareth') of Texan act DEATH OF MILLIONS became the latest in a long line of INCANTATION drummers. A headline tour of Canada ensued after which Perry opted out. In July 1999 Stevens too took his leave in order to resurrect his NOKTURNEL act.

For a batch of dates in Argentina the reliant Chris Dora came in on drums and past member Mike Saez also rejoined as frontman. The 2000 album 'The Infernal Storm' was recorded with session drummer Dave Culross of MALEVOLENT CREATION and the band pulled in DEATH, CONTROL DENIED and ICED EARTH man Richard Christy for tour work.

Ex-drummer Kyle Severn was back in the fold by August 2000 for American gigs with NILE and IMPALED. Severn also involved himself with the high profile WOLFEN SOCIETY project featuring ACHERON's Vincent Crowley, VITAL REMAINS singer Jeff Gruslin and DARK FUNERAL guitarist Lord Ahriman. Severn would also perform gigs with ACHERON and commit to studio sessions for a single.

INCANTATION geared up for a month long tour of the States in early 2001 in alliance with IMMOLATION and GOATWHORE. However, the dates would be abruptly curtailed at a gig in Queens, New York. The band's van was broken into outside the Voodoo Lounge venue before the show then various band members and friends became embroiled in a vicious fight. Saez had stepped in to prevent a fight involving his former DEATHRUNE band mate Chris Shaw. As it turned out Shaw was stabbed in the back and face no less than seven times. The intervening Saez also received major wounds to his arm. Another friend Pete Schulz also received deep lacerations to the arm.

The attacker fled from the venue but was chased and caught by Kyle Severn who apprehended the man and held him until police caught up with him. The injuries to Saez were so severe that the tour was cancelled. Saez would later be rushed into hospital at a later date with stomach pains but would make a full recovery.

INCANTATION switched labels from Relapse to Necropolis and put in a series of hugely successful Brazilian shows with a guesting REBAELLION in May of 2001 after which Yench decided to exit the band. The Sao Paulo gig would be recorded, albeit only from the soundboard, for a live album 'Live - Blasphemy In Brazil 2001'. Released by Mutilation Records it would be limited to 2000 copies all of which quickly sold out. Joe Lombard took over bass for a set of German dates in August.

Planned touring of Europe for February of 2002 backed up by INFERNAL POETRY and INIQUITY was postponed when Severn suffered a back injury. The group would embark on a further round of American dates, headlined by CANNIBAL CORPSE and billed alongside DARK FUNERAL and PISSING RAZORS, commencing on the 24th April in Los Angeles. A new studio album, 'Blasphemy' produced by Bill Korecky, arrived in June upfront of a headline North American trek billed as the 'Summer of Blasphemy' tour packaged with IMPALED, DECAPITATED and FALL TO DEAD. These dates would kick off on July 25th at the Al Rosa Villa venue in Columbus, Ohio with later shows on the schedule adding DRAGONLORD to the bill. Major news arrived shortly after the confirmation of these dates as Vincent Crowley of ACHERON and WOLFEN SOCIETY had joined the band. Further gigs had the band headlining throughout Europe in August with support from PANDEMIA.

In February of 2003 the band inducted new guitarist Lou 'Sonny Lombardozzi' as John McEntee took over the lead vocal role. Lombardozzi was noted for his dexterity in playing both left handed and right handed on a unique double headed guitar.

In this formation the group undertook the 'Rotting With Your Christ' US tour that month partnered with PUNGENT STENCH, BEYOND THE EMBRACE and RUNE. INCANTATION struck New Zealand and Australia in June but would be involved in a high speed car crash on their way to a gig in Bexley, Australia. Severn, McEntee and Lombardozzi were all injured albeit not seriously. However, Kyle Severn's chest injuries forced him out of a scheduled appearance at the 'Bloodlust' festival in Sydney. Local bands rallied to support so INCANTATION could perform a shortened set with PSYCROPTIC's Dave Haley standing in on three songs whilst ASTRIAAL man Gryphon took on 'Ibex Moon', a song his band had been performing live as a cover. INCANTATION recovered to embark upon their Summer 'Rotting With Your Christ' US dates allied with FUNERUS and DISGORGE. Both McEntee and Severn would be doubling live duties with FUNERUS, actually the band mentored by McEntee's wife and bass player Jill. South American gigs in November found INCANTATION shifting shape once more, inducting Thomas Pioli of HEMLOCK, CEREMONIUM and OBLITERATION repute. This would be a re-recruitment for Pioli, who had earlier played bass guitar for INCANTATION's 1992 'Onward To Golgotha' dates.

INCANTATION signed a deal with France's Listenable Records in early 2004 for European licensing and, shortly after, announced signature with Olympic Records for the USA. The band entered the Mars Recording Compound in Cleveland, Ohio with producer Bill Korecky on 5th March to track their eighth full length album 'Decimate Christendom' scheduled for early July release. European shows that November dubbed the 'Clash Of Demigods' saw the band forming up a package billing with KRISIUN, RAGNAROK and BEHEMOTH. However, Kyle Severn was forced to withdraw from these gigs due to the unexpected death of his mother. Filling in on drums for the tour will be Ilmar Uibo from the French Black Metal band BLOODY SIGN.

To open 2005 the band hooked up with THE CHASM, MORTICIAN and ARSIS for the 'Winter Migration Broootality' US tour commencing early January. The band's next road alliance, suitably dubbed 'European Decimation', took in April gigs throughout Italy, Portugal, the UK, Holland and Germany in partnership with CATASTROPHIC, FUNERUS, JUNGLE ROT and HEXENHAMMER. INCANTATION then formed up with a Summer package touring bill comprising HATE ETERNAL, KRISIUN, INTO ETERNITY and ALL SHALL PERISH for US gigs in June. However due to "legal issues" the band was forced to skip the Canadian dates of this trek, instead filling the gap with East Coast shows supported by CIRCLE OF DEAD CHILDREN and ESTUARY. Lombardozzi subsequently worked with FLESHTIZED and CASTRATION.

Gigs in Poland during September saw support from GORTAL and SPHERE.

Gigs in Mexico during February 2006 saw Roberto Lizárraga of INFINITUM OBSCURE installed on bass guitar. Bill Korecky and the band cut tracks for a new album at Mars Recording Compound during April/May. US shows commencing in late May had INCANTATION hooked up with VITAL REMAINS, SIN OF ANGELS and New Zealanders DAWN OF AZAZEL. The group then announced the "Decimate Spain" shows in July flanking IRREDEMPTION, after which further sessions were conducted on seventh album 'Primordial Domination'.

Relapse Records re-issued the classic 'Onward To Golgotha' in October, adding a DVD comprising three full live sets from the 1992 line-up. INCANTATION, backed by INTERNAL SUFFERING and YEAR OF DESOLATION, opened up another lengthy US tour commencing November 1st 2006 at the Modern Exchange in Southgate, Michigan.

The band joined a heavyweight casting of CARPATHIAN FOREST, MALEVOLENT CREATION, HARM, ROTTING CHRIST and NEURAXIS for the 'Domination' European tour, commencing on February 14th 2007 at the Warsaw Progresja venue in Poland before hitting Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium, France and Holland. For these shows, former INCANTATION member Jim Roe filled in for drummer Kyle Severn.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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