The Devastated: Devil’s Messenger

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The Devastated: Devil’s Messenger
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The Devastated: Devil's Messenger
Death Metal, Deathcore
Century Media Records
February 14th, 2012
Release length: 42:16
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The Devastated and Century Media Records issued the title track of the group’s debut album as a digital single in mid-October of 2011. Since then, the group has generated a good deal of anticipation among the Deathcore crowd, and every now and then another song or two would crop up on the internet as the label kept a tight seal of their precious little baby. But, Devil’s Messenger is finally here, and the time has to come to hear one of the best kept secrets from a larger label in quite some time. Is this album really worth the hype that has been building up around it?

Well, like with the digital single, the audio here is about the same professional standard. The crisp quality show a high production value amid some bass-heavy distortion common for both Deathcore and the Brutal Death Metal scenes, while the bass guitar itself is pretty loud and makes a strong impact to the tone of the release. The vocals are a mixture of the higher pitch rasp with mid-range growls in the background much of the time. The drums come through pretty well with strong, clear cymbals at a nice level that allow the other instruments to come through well, as do the snares that come through tight and also of a deeper quality, and a nice click to the bass kicks that isn’t too overpowering, but still very dominant in the mix. All the levels are great here, and the amount of energy captured causes much of it to mold together into varying degrees of brutality and chaos, but the ranges are between highly impressive, traditional, and even disappointing.

But that really stems from the question of whether the band is intentionally trying to be disappointing, or just having fun with it. “Drip Drip” kicks the album off with a pretty punishing sound. The introduction isn’t too impressive, being more a simple breakdown that sounds like one chord notes played against robotic clown laughter that is quite irritating, it kicks into relevant, somewhat chugging Deathcore that carries a bit of a punishing vibe to it. Theres a nice mixture of Brutal Death Metal ideas thrown in through some of the change-ups in tempo and music, but around the minute and a half mark the vocals take on more of a disgusting noise that, ultimately, is just that. Aside some shouting that obviously is spiteful lyrics aimed towards someon, it’s just gibberish that sounds more like a poor animal impression. The chugging chords that follow can build up some energy before hammering back into some spaced out simpler chords once more that carries the breakdown along, but into a more intense world than many of today’s acts in the style dare to release. Honestly, the ideas that The Devastated incorporate in here show a good air of originality that dares to not put the band into the typical concepts of the genre, but yet they still manage to throw themselves right into the mercy of the style that Whitechapel and others like them are feeding the masses.

With an introduction that will easily leave listeners feeling emotionally confused, “Psuedo Smile Campaign” kicks in with a rather catchy introduction that has a nice rhythm and even a slight early Melodic Death Metal sort of intensity backing it up. The building that occurs here is great, and you expect the group to go into more of an energetic, fast paced assault with the main verse, but instead just drops into more one chord breakdown material. The shift does make sense in a way, thanks largely to the transition between the two sounds, but it doesn’t quite live up to the tension that has been built up, and what comes after it doesn’t do much of a job either. There are some more intense chords that try to benefit from the introduction, and do well, but the band doesn’t really seem to want to stay fixated on them for too long in favor of breakdowns and simpler chugging material. But, admittedly, even though this is like listening to the inane ramblings of an inanimate group consciousness with ADHD, the song is still catchy amid it’s madness, and quite often you can find yourself banging your head along to what the band offers here, as well as the far more aggressing “Swallowing Tumors” and its varying sections of high-speed intensity in the verses against slower bass-crushing heavier passages.

From that point, the material becomes a lot more consistent and doesn’t really change itself constantly, or leave you wondering exactly what you were supposed to take from it. “Failure in Thrive” is a solid, slower paced offering that doesn’t necessarily carry a brutal tone with that speed, but does feel somewhat burdening. Again, this is pretty straight forward, and while it doesn’t offer much of a unique sound to the album, it still ends up with some strong riffs and a rhythm you can easily get into the moment it starts. With much of its breakdown-similar foundation established, you also get the single, “The Devil’s Messenger,” which is still a pretty good song, and “Spit Vitriol” that has some pretty hard-hitting moments to it with a mid-tempo pace. There are a decent number of changes to the music again, but none that go too over-the-top, or so many it loses the point in itself. The breakdowns are pretty strong as well despite being pushed by one chord again, and the energy presented by the group really causes this to stand out, much like many of the song before and after it. “Blood Bag Drag” is a short and sweet track that carries that kind of intense start “Psuedo Smile Campaign” has, and ends up actually capitalizing on it when the music does shift towards the end for the obligatory breakdown.

Devil’s Messenger is a little hard to pass judgement on no matter how many spins you give it. It has some pretty good tracks, which fans of Deathcore simply can’t argue, ut, you also can’t sit there and say every track is great. Between a good dose of typical modern Brutal Death Metal combined with this style’s cliché foundation, and very sporadic elements that lose consistency really quick, it’s hard to be impressed by much of what the band offers. But, it’s how they perform it that works well. Not all the songs boast a strong energetic push, such as “Tongue in Cheek,” but the ones that do end up being a lot more fun overall, even if it does end up as if an ADHD child’s sugar rush like “Drip Drip” to the point of inducing headaches. The Devastated‘s debut album is a nice entry that fans of this music will eat up without question despite the quality, and even though it isn’t the most impressive offering, it does offer up enough heavy, enjoyable breakdowns that are littered with some things called verses and choruses that make it worth sampling, though with something for migraines on the side just to be safe.

01. Drip Drip – 3:45
02. Psuedo Smile Campaign – 3:01
03. Swallowing Tumors – 3:54
04. Failure in Thrive – 3:46
05. Roof Top Party Drop – 2:49
06. The Devil’s Messenger – 4:57
07. Spit Vitriol – 4:28
08. Zombies – 2:53
09. Blood Bag Drag – 1:42
10. Tongue in Cheek – 3:09
11. Caprice – 4:03
12. Conductor – 3:49

Overall Score: 6/10
The Devastated (band)
The Devastated
Digital review copy of this release provided by Century Media Records.