Total Devastation

More fine non-doom form Firebox, and upon immediate listens, Finland’s aptly titled Total Devastation reminded me of The Amenta and Scarve with their intensely ballistic take on cybernetic metal, although not quite as blackened. Of course Reclusion boasts a massive production (courtesy of Finnvox) and has the usual injections of cyber samples and programming, but where most cyber bands are content to chug along at a mechanical, robotic gait, Total Devastation (while containing chugging) have a far more devastating approach to the tried and tested sound. Think of “Mirthless Perspectives” from Scarve’s Irradiant, but continuing that consistency throughout the album and with more pacing.Consisting of two sets of brothers (three Pikka’s and three Hakuli’s) and one non blood related member, Total Devastation have found the perfect soft spot between death metal savagery and cyber metal’s piston based mechanics, with a minimal need for dressing up every riff or interlude with needless chirps and beeps. The songs have a few distorted cyber injections and some futuristic synths and programming, but they are barely noticeable over the massive noise of the guitars and ultra tight rhythm section. Also Total Devastation strays away from the usual cerebral Cyber metal themes and song titles, instead treading death metal’s more basic visage. “Murderous” kicks things off with a burly industrial blast and then “Divine” continues with a delicately synthed bruising pace. There’s no real let up on the album as Total Devastation forsake lengthy programmed introductions or piecemeal interludes just for the sake of enforcing their sound. “They Stand on 3” lowers the intensity level with some more thoughtful experimental moments and even a melodic solo between the now pretty impressive pummeling pace and structures. The surprisingly tame title track breaks the action a little with a more thoughtful mid paced lurch, but the relative peace is broken by the vicious yet brief “Full Circle,” one of the most intense cyber metal tracks I’ve heard.

The menacing mid paced pulse of “Converted Illusion,” provides a menacing technology gone awry atmospherics, but again isn’t so steeped in programming that is detracts from the powerful music. Standout track “Ground Zero” with its quirky intro includes a rip roaring black metal romp with expected cyber leanings but it shreds with a futuristic tenacity few cyber bands have captured. Admittedly, the last quarter of the album sorts of retreads the albums prior output and does little to create any identity as like The Amenta, the album eventually all blurs into one punishing 40 minute assault, which is fine, but a few individual “wow” moments instead of 11 “phew” moments would have really topped this already good album off. Although “Well of the Dead” tries to be a slow tempered moody track, track but when delivered this late in a pretty much blistering from start to end album, it comes across as an afterthought.

Reclusion is a pretty punishing album and shows that cyber metal doesn’t have to be Fear Factory obsession all the time or completely overdo the cyber elements. Total Devastation show that you can retain the brutality as well as gloss your sound with a slight cyber tone. Heavy stuff.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 11th, 2005


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