Album Review: INCITE Oppression
There's nothing more representational of the simultaneous curse and blessing paradox than being related to a successful artist while being an aspiring one yourself. As your relation to another musician may push you into the spotlight, it creates harsh expectations and comparisons. Julian Lennon, Ziggy Marley, and now Richie Cavalera. All decently talented artists in their own right, but the undeniable pink elephant in the room regards the fact that they seemingly will always live under the shadow of their father.
With that being said, I think it seems only fair to turn a blind eye to the fact that Incite frontman's stepfather is responsible for the rise of bands such as Sepultura, Soulfly, and Cavalera Conspiracy to name a few. The most accurate way to judge the material on Oppression would be assessing quality based on content rather than context. Although ideally it would be best to review this album in a vacuum, it becomes difficult to disregard the Cavalera relation when Richie's vocal melodies and delivery border close to Max's. Because of this similarity, the group has developed a mixed reputation amongst critics and metalheads.
Regardless of if you consider yourself a fan of the band or not, there are a few songs on here deserving of credit. "Stagnant" poses as the clear single with the chorus' riff enveloping both catchy and heavy characteristics. Comparably, "No Remorse" presents an enticing melodic groove that cuts through the dissonance. The last piece that stuck with me was "Life's Disease," which best demonstrated the interaction between the lead guitar's licks along with guest vocalist Connor Garrity of All Hail the Yeti.
Even though the aforementioned tracks were the apparent stand-outs, the amount of raw energy and drive put into all ten songs is consistent and genuine. It seemed that the moments that lacked a memorable element were due to a need for further dynamics. The small variety in riffs creates compositions like "Lost Reality" to feel almost identical to the title track. Equally so, "I Want It All" suffered from simplistic lyrical content. Still being what appears to be a growing band, these complaints can be viewed as normal faults on a group's path to a peak of success.
In 2014, the band's release of Up In Hell showed promise consisting of a slight nü metal and hardcore fusion. Two years later, Incite expands on that approach quite well adding a tinge of modern death metal. This subtle shift in the band's sound went from a Hatebreed aesthetic to the wholesome style of say Machine Head or others within the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Both being valid genres to pull inspiration from, this current sound is an overall step in the right direction. And while the compositions on this album aren't exactly covering new grounds in the metal community, a mix of Pantera crunch, Lamb of God speed, and some thrash throwback never hurt.
When comparing this record to the scope and standard of metal's quality nowadays, the LP falls in the decent category. But when juxtaposing exclusively to previous work, this release is an impressive collection of aggressive pieces. The melodies, while not excessive by any means, are certainly less blatant than the previous album's smooth flow. Instead, the barrage of continual groovy and angsty riffs speak for themselves leading to Oppression feeling more focused and impactful.