Gear Rundown: Blood Incantation

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Gear Rundown: Blood Incantation

Blood Incantation 2
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Blood Incantation are leading the revival of old school death metal.

With influences like Death, Morbid Angel and Gorguts, Blood Incantation blend prog and classic death metal, all through the lens of their view on aliens, planetary and human evolution and the universe around us. Their music is abhorrently technical, making most guitarists want to quit their instrument on the spot, without being inaccessible or un-enjoyable.

There’s a fine line between profoundly technical music, be it jazz, classical or metal as an example, that musicians can teeter on music being so technical that there’s no pulse, rhythm or groove, and writing impressively technical music that can still be bopped along and danced to.

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Blood Incantation take the latter route, combining grooves, speed and melodic solos with some very simple equipment, usually letting their playing and instrument prowess provide the dynamic and shifting sounds that effects are usually used for. Because of this, guitarist’s Paul Riedl and Morris Kolontyrsky are pretty demanding and exacting of their instruments, while bassist Jeff Barrett has his own unique take on metal bass playing.

BC Rich Ironbird

Riedl and Kolontyrsky both sport BC Rich guitars primarily, usually of the Ironbird variety. The Ironbird is one of the more angular designs available from the company, famously used by artists like Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse) and Spencer Hazard (Full of Hell). BC Rich produce extremely versatiles guitars, their list of artists ranging from Slash to—sorry metal elitists—Phoebe Bridgers.

The versatility of their guitars are what speaks to Blood Incantation, their Ironbird’s featuring two humbuckers and Kahler tremolos. Most recently, Blood Incantation’s guitarists are playing BC Rich Legacy series Ironbirds (all black, ebony fretboards, a single DiMarzio Super Distortion and single volume control) and aftermarket Kahler 2300 Pro tremolo systems.

BC Rich Mockingbird fretless

While Blood Incantation’s music moves beyond metal, particularly with the release of 2022’s album Timeform Zero, there’s not much else besides death metal you can expect from a band sporting solely BC Rich stringed-instruments.

BC Rich Mockingbird

Blood Incantation’s bass player, Jeff Barrett, uses a fretless BC Rich Mockingbird. The Mockingbird is a more rounded body shape, combining a slightly offset body with rounded horns. The fretless addition, or maybe more so subtraction, give Barret’s bass tone a uniquely slippery, progressive sound. Paul Riedl and Morris Kolontyrsky’s guitars roll like a steam engine, while the bass tone supporting them shifts in and out of pitch, offering movement and vibrato to the arrangement for an ethereal feel.

Kahler tremolos

Kahler are a lesser known tremolo company, though their innovation and design elevates them beyond a lot of the competition. The standard Kahler tremolo includes a locking mechanism, whereas other trems like Floyd Rose need additional accessories to be locked.

Kahler feature more practical solutions to adjusting things like intonation, string radius and string width, entirely more customizable than competitors, but with the same, stable, fine-tuning tech. Blood Incantation employ Kahler specifically (sometimes as aftermarket additions), because of their ingenuity and reliability, even when wailing and dive-bombing like Blood Incantation do.

Peavey 6505

The Peavey 6505 was a revised take on the 5150 after Eddie Van Halen took the 5150 name elsewhere when splitting from Peavey. According to Peavey they’re the same design and components, albeit production being moved to China.

5150s and 6505s are used extensively in metal, the tight bottom end being a great match for down-tuned music, or even just riffing on the bottom string.

Blood Incantation Synths

In early 2022, Blood Incantation released their new album Timeform Zero in full. Fan opinions were split, there were no amps, no vocals per se and no drums, only a single acoustic guitar remained from Blood Incantation’s standard lineup of instruments.

The album’s eventual release  was met with mixed results as well, some fans loving the deviation to build on the Blood Incantation zeitgeist, while others wanted more straight-down the road metal. The album is made up of two compositions and split into eight movements, begging with “Io” and moving onto “Ea”.

Sequential Circuits Six-Trak

“Io” begins with a rumble, a profoundly bass heavy synth sound, that slowly modulates about a minute in, and begins to filter and warm up. This sound is provided by a Sequential Circuits Six-Trak, played by Blood Incantation’s drummer Isaac Faulk.

The Six-Trak was designed as Sequential Circuits’ beginner synth. It’s simply laid out, with a few octaves of keys and is an analog six oscillator, six voice synth. The Six-Trak features MIDI for external control, as well as a large panel above the keys that displays assignment settings.

Roland JP-8000

Guitarist Morris Kolontyrsky plays a Roland JP-8000, a more modern Roland synth that aimed to incorporate the massive, 80s saw wave synth sounds which modern technology and connectivity.

The Roland JP-8000 is a powerhouse for real-time adjustment and modulation via knobs and sliders. It has “analog” synth functions despite being a digital synth, making the JP-8000 a great option for players moving from more classic synths, accustomed to that sound and function.

Korg Minilogue

Kolontyrsky also plays a Korg Minilogue, an analog synth at a really accessible price, still being in production today. The Minilogue is a polyphonic analog synthesizer, meaning that it has multiple voices that can be used simultaneously. It has on board effects like delay and reverb, as well as controls to toggle, switch and adjust your tones on the fly.

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