March 5th, 2011
Release length: 33:40
The promotional version I received seems a bit different though. Of course this was a CD-R with black and white artwork and a print out for a slimline jewel case. However the band has the track listing seperated as “side one” and “side two”, so I’m assuming this effort is available either as a cassette or vinyl. This just ends up being something I felt I should mention at some point in this review, and it really makes no huge impact considering how strong the material is, as well as the production. The overall sound of Devoted to Death is pretty clear, but not completely modernized to the point where it takes away any bite the album has. The music has a hefty dose of distortion to the guitars, but the bass actually comes off a little hard to hear in the mix. On top of that the drumming is fantastic and just the right levels all around the kit, and the vocals are about the same volume as the guitars and drum kit, though they don’t feel quite as deep or rich as they should be, but they at least sound like they are more of a human performance instead of an overly distorted mechanical interpretation of a growl like some bands may use, plus there are rhaspy screams in the background at times that are meant to stay that way due to a low volume putting them a bit further into the mix at times. Some tracks, like “Avoiding Humanity”, do wind up having them a little louder and more prominant in the mix since they do become part of the overall performance.
As far as the music goes on this effort, it’s a solid performance of groove driven Death Metal with some intensity and fury that could be found in Swedish Death Metal acts, as well as even some more chaotic Death Metal without the groove such as earlier Kataklysm. But, no matter what seems to come from the band, the end result of violent headbanging is pretty much guaranteed to ensue. “Goats Blood” is the best example of this with it’s overly brutal material in a pre-Swarm Torture Killer sense, not having that groove to it for much of the song but having an overly brutalizing sound with a solid beat that forces the listener to instinctively bang their head along to the material. Of course, this isn’t the first song on here, and it’s definitely not the last.
The album kicks things off with “Devoted to Death”, and while “Goats Blood” is one of the more aggressive tracks, this song really introduces the album well. It starts with a nice mixture of chugging and groove Death Metal, then enters into a song that is pure Death Metal with a more modern twist to it thanks to some clear Swedish Death Metal involvement. The guttural, indecipherable vocals work very well with it, and the various groove-driven bridges that happen that incorporate some two-stepping with a slight Crossover vibe to it really takes the track into a more unique direction while the song its the breaks and enters more of a Doom Metal closing, incorporating a helpless vibe to the moments that is transitioned well into and back out to the aforementioned madness with more build for the proper closing. All of this manages to establish the type of material you will encounter through the recording, and also ensure you’ll enter it with whiplash from the varying time changes and aggressive riffs all punishing your neck as your head goes along with the beat of the chaos.
There’s plenty of great songs on the album, and nothing really comes off like filler material. No matter what track you hear, the material is heavy and feels ruthless during it’s audio assault on the listener. Of the songs though, “Endless Hate” really seems to capture the band’s anger and general disgust. The music goes at a traditional chugging pace that often has a good groove to it, and just never really picks up past a mid-tempo. The song is right in your face with a commanding tone, and eventually slowing down to a suitable melancholic passage with a bit of melody to the guitar work before going back to the old-school commanding and punishing angry, malicious Death Metal to close the track with. Of course “Bloodlust” ends the track out with a far more intense track then how it all started. The music comes off generally like something you’d expect from a track with that title, jumping in and out of brutally driven Death Metal and groove based two-step Death Metal, all having a very sinister vibe that closes Devoted to Death perfectly in a manner best suit as a closing song of a band’s live set. Again your head will bang along to the track involuntarily as it’s consistant changes in pace and general performance, though all flowing smoothly from one point to the next with smooth transitions and that all the elements work together to create one generally heavy track that leaves you feeling as if it had ripped off one of your limbs and began to pummel you with it.
Overall, Decrepid put on one hell of a performance for this release. Devoted to Death makes for a fantastic trip through various interpretations of Death Metal over the years, all staying within a consistant dark and evil atmosphere. Each track is unique to one another, and often comes off brutal, intimidating, and/or simply catchy as all hell through it’s commanding performance. With plenty of talent exposed on this release, and nothing to really gripe about aside the vocals just not quite being deep enough (almost, just not quite there), Devoted to Death becomes a modern day underground Death Metal gem that any fan of the style simply needs to hear. It’s not jaw dropping, heart stopping, awe inspiring or over-the-top, but it’s solid from start to finish, lacks cheap filler, and really reminds you what great Death Metal can sound like in this day and age.
01. Devoted to Death – 4:00
02. Sins of Sodom – 2:26
03. Avoiding Humanity – 3:16
04. Goast Blood – 3:47
05. Purgatory – 3:23
06. Endless Hate – 3:56
07. Kill or be Killed – 3:46
08. Born to Die – 4:52
09. Bloodlust – 4:14
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Decrepid.