One of the more unfortunate realities of being a music fan is that the more you seek out great music, the less you will find. There are only a certain number of albums out there that will resonate with you passionately, and expanding your search and listening to more and more records is futile. What will happen is that you will wind up hearing massive amounts of music that are either bland or offensive to your senses, to the point where you begin to doubt if you still love music the way you once did. It happens to the best of us, and one of the marks of a true music fan is whether you can push through those ruts to keep finding the gems waiting for you, or if you retreat back into your collection and cut yourself off from the tide of music that is ever flowing.
Because of that reality, there is little better than when you strike upon one of those rare gems, an unforeseen pearl waiting for you as you scrape the sand from another shell. They are the releases that make all the time you invest worth it, they reaffirm your belief in the power of music. This year, Incura has done that for me.
The band's debut album is not what I would have thought myself drawn to, but it is everything that I could have wanted. They are not precisely anything, but are instead everything. A theatrical band that straddles the border between rock and metal, they gleefully go over the top in a way that reminds me ever so much of Jim Steinman, the genius behind Meat Loaf's biggest success. That sentence probably scared many of you away, but I mean it as the highest form of compliment I can give.
Few rock or metal albums I have heard can match the endless string of sticky, addictive melodies that “Incura” has to offer. These are songs that combine the best attributes of Broadway and the Wacken festival, thunderously heavy show-tunes that are as thrilling as they are unforgettable. By the time songs like “I'm Here Waiting” or “Who You Are” get to the chorus the second time, they feel like old friends, and are easy to sing along with. Immediacy may be viewed by some as a sign that a song may not have staying power, but after dozens of times through the album, I can say that is not the case here. The rest of the band has just as much going for them, giving the songs more than enough details to keep you interested well past the initial buzz.
From front to back, “Incura” doesn't let up. The closing stretch of the album is as strong as its heart, with the righteous melodrama that is “Sweat Runs Cold” capping the proceedings off in style, with rising and falling bursts of fury, and a hook that will pull you in and demand you put the album on repeat. Before getting there, however, the album gives you plenty of reasons to fall in love. Simply put, this is the best collection of rock or metal songs I've heard all year. In particular, the three song stretch of “I'm Here Waiting”, “Who You Are”, and “Turning Blue” are as good as any stretch from any album this year.
This kind of absurd music is hard to make, and it remains to be seen how often Incura can hit the mark, but this time out they have struck the dead center of the bulls-eye. “Incura” is a nearly flawless album, one that reminds me of what great rock music is supposed to be, while also reminding me of some of my favorite musical memories. “Incura” is the best rock or metal album so far this year, and I'm confident it will be at the top of that list come the end. In fact, the only negative thing I can say about the album is that it's difficult to get your hands on a physical copy here in America. Other than that, I can't recommend “Incura” enough.