Devourment
Conceived in Sewage

With only 3 full lengths in almost 15 years of existence, Devourment has still managed to foster an almost obsessive, cult-like following.  Their brand of brutal, slamming death metal is almost notoriously hailed as the pinnacle of the niche genre.  On this latest output, and their first on Relapse, the same crew is back from the pummeling attack that was on their last one, Unleash the Carnivore.  And while it’s safe to say this is one of most anticipated releases this early in 2013, it falls short of this quartet’s true potential.

Opting to forego an intro and begin the beating right away, the first two tracks jump right out of the gate with the trademark chug and growl style that these Texans are infamous for.  But after getting through them, there still didn’t seem to be the hook that makes you perk up and say “THAT’S A DEVOURMENT SONG!”  It’s not until about 1:15 into the next track, the title track, where we see the trademark groove hit you and entice your neck to start moving.  It’s vintage Devourment, but is a bit disappointing to have to wait this long until it shows up.  This is easily the catchiest song on here, and will remind longtime fans of their early work.

“Fucked with Rats” is another by-the-numbers track, with an instrumental thrown in after it which seems out of place on album like this.  “Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill” has a nasty breakdown thrown in about halfway through, and “Heaving Acid” is another earth-mover.  The final two tracks, “Carved into Ecstasy” (despite its nice stop-start tempos) and “Parasitic Eruption” sum up what this album honestly feels like: Devourment just going through the motions.  And it’s a bitch because these Texans are capable of so much more (as their first 3 albums are a testament to that).

As mentioned there are a few moments of note, but if you played this for a friend and didn’t tell them it was Devourment, you would probably get a lot of “mehs” from them, and that’s a sign when a band has possibly slipped a little bit: if you take away their reputation or name recognition, would you still hold the album you’re listening to in such high regard?  The riffs seem stale and reproduced, the hooks and quality songwriting seem to have taken a back seat, and overall the album never has that holy shit factor to it that fans have come to expect.It’s heavy, yes.  But in this case that’s not enough.  Devourment has set the bar extremely high, so for better or worse they do get held to a higher critical standard, even in the confines of a limiting genre like brutal death metal.

The guitar work aside, Eric Park is still a monster behind the kit (though his drums are a bit low in the mix), and Mike Majewski has a killer growl that’s just downright nasty.  Chris Andrews handles the bass duties, and with an album mixed by none other than the incredible Erik Rutan, it’s organic and powerful but far from over-polished.  With such recent killer outputs from Katalepsy (a tad more technical while still crushing) and Relics of Humanity (more slam-oriented), Devourment’s crown is far from unchallenged, and to stay hungry they might want to remember the tagline from the movie Casino – “No one stays at the top forever.”

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
February 21st, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Nice review. I’ve never been more than a casual fan of their past couple of albums but I’m actually enjoying this one quite a bit. A bit more refined and tighter this time. Rutan’s production is solid as always.


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