Mortal Incarnation – Lunar Radiant Dawn [Cassette] (2020)REVIEW

The madness of this mid-summer death/doom metal dagger is unsheathed and pressed to the neck of their frozen European and North American peers as a weighted, momentum building swipe of steel against flesh in sacrifice of stumbling, feigned ruminations of bygone eras. An independent digital release unto the well-filled void of 2019, ‘Lunar Radiant Dawn’ is the first demo from Kyoto, Japan based quartet Mortal Incarnation who’ve stripped away and refinished the oldest traditions of death/doom metal without losing the glowing cacophonous patina of ancient extremity. Far too active to fit neatly into extreme doom metal, too spacious and eruptive to blend with ‘new old school’ death metal tropes, there is some sense of a singularity occurring as this two song ~17 minute tape bleeds of its indomitably dense array of riff and ruinous sledging darkness.

The most clear and reductive path towards ‘Lunar Radiant Dawn’ is actually Disembowelment thanks to a distant and psychedelia-tinged atmospheric death metal production sound. The first important point to make is that Mortal Incarnation have emphasized the psychedelic structural trade-off characteristic of ‘Transcendence into the Peripheral’ but the heart of their riffs lies within the playful mutations of traditional Finnish death/doom metal they’d create. Where modus diverges from that path should be immediately obvious as the riffs kick in and do not stop for the next fifteen minutes of this fine release. The blackened swagger of Swallowed and the ancient Finnish death strains of Krypts are certainly relevant here and a fine middle ground might be Spectral Voice‘s first tape but, the goal on my end is to convey the modern and intricate overflow of pure death metal riffs that spring from this font of inspired death metal.

On top of this powerfully buzzing hulk of death metal, a Dolorian scented sense of atmospherics verges on threatening as the post-death spectrum infects the 10+ minute “A Dismal Propagation Into Decay” unto collapse at the end. This pairs beautifully with funeral doom adjacent guitar lines throughout the first track (“Infinite Consciousness Unchained from the Mortal Incarnation”) and brings with it many shades of early Esoteric into the mix. I found this dynamic between the two tracks infinitely repeatable, mind-boggling, and well above average for the sub-genre itself.

“Fresh” is the right word for the feeling it provides but ‘Lunar Radiant Dawn’ can be reduced to a progressive-minded stream of flowing riff, a known feat done in a new and brain blistering form. A great achievement to be hailed in death/doom circles and easily the best tape I’ve come across in the early months of 2020, I can happily give a high recommendation for Mortal Incarnation‘s official physical release of ‘Lunar Radiant Dawn’ on cassette tape.


Artist Mortal Incarnation
Type Demo [Cassette]
Released January 10, 2020
BUY & LISTEN on Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ Bandcamp! Mortal Incarnation on Facebook
Genre Death/Doom Metal,
Atmospheric Death Metal

High recommendation. 4.0/5.0

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