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On December 15, 1992 (December 14 in Europe) Nirvana released its compilation album Incesticide. Too often considered an underdog in Nirvana discography, this album is an excellent work by the band.
After the astonishing success Nevermind acquired with its release in 1991, expectations on Nirvana were set very high. The work on the band’s next studio album In Utero was taking quite long, so Nirvana offered the fans a compilation of tracks, most of which were already circulating in bootleg versions among the fan community. According to Charles Cross’ book ‘Cobain Unseen,’ Kurt Cobain agreed on releasing the compilation only after he was assured to have complete control over the art cover, which was entirely drawn by him.
1992 was a relevant moment for the band, which reached the top of the music world in 1991, changing music history forever; moreover the entire grunge movement had become a huge deal. This was reflected on the industry in a pushing need for a new Nirvana album, playing as a bridge between Nevermind and the announced In Utero: here comes Incesticide. The tracks contained were mostly outtakes, demos and covers, accompanied by some unreleased songs.
Incesticide turned out to be a pearl in Nirvana discography. It surely did not have the impact Nevermind had on masses, nor on the industry, nevertheless it is a very good mirror of who Nirvana was. The album in its entirety describes the complex spirit behind Nirvana. With its mixture of different momenta in music inspiration, Incesticide has a unique soul expressing the Seattle band’s geniality. Kicking off with Dive, a hard and straightforward amazing song, it also contains catchier tracks with a more popular oriented spirit, such as Sliver and Molly’s Lips. Punk is well defined by the amazing covers of Turnaround and Son of a Gun; the last song of the album, Aneurysm, is a strong, energetic track that can hardly be defined by words. Big Long Now is an obsessive repetitive song which results in perfection, and deeply touches the spirit of the listener; Beeswax has a peculiar construction and is probably the real pearl of the album, just to name a few.
The variety of the tracks well represents the multiple personality shades that Nirvana was able to express. Incesticide goes back and forth between the singular components of the complex musical mind created by Cobain and Co.. In every album, the band’s poetry is modeled through a selection of soul and inspirational movements, which are able to take form through simplicity. Putting together something so complex and passing it through with the kind of simplicity Nirvana was able to achieve in composing is surely one of the highest levels the music craft can reach. Incesticide explains exactly that.
The anniversary was celebrated on Record Store Day on November 23, with the release of double LP limited to 4000 copies. The anniversary edition features recompiled and remastered tracks from the original analog master tape and recording sources by Bernie Grundman at Bernie Grundman Mastering Studios. It was pressed on two 180 gram virgin vinyl discs and cut at 45 RPM vinyl.
No fancy celebrations as for last year’s Nevermind 20th anniversary and it is comprehensible. Nevertheless, big excitement should be expected for the piece of excellence that Incesticide is. A must have for all Nirvana and grunge fans of course, but also for those who are interested in understanding the many faces this band had.