Friday, March 8, 2013

Devourment - Conceived in Sewage

Devourment has become one of the biggest brutal death bands right now. Although the majority of their fan base is within the underground brutal death community, there are some that are considering them to be up there with Hate Eternal, Nile, and Aborted. I don’t agree with the latter statement, but it’s no myth that Devourment is at the top of their game. The band’s third album, Unleash the Carnivore, is one of my personal favorite brutal death records ever, and is credited worldwide as being one of the best albums in the history of underground slamming brutality. Now, the Texas quartet is back with their fourth and highly-anticipated release, Conceived in Sewage. It should be noted that 2013 is supposed to be a pretty big year for the brutal death and death grind genres. It’s already seen the fantastic releases of several brutal death and death grind bands including Defeated Sanity, Guttural Secrete, Suffocation, and Wormed. But one of the better ones of this year was released by none other than Devourment.

Despite the mind-blowing power and slamming brutality that Unleash the Carnivore "unleashed" unto the listener, it had some minor flaws that needed some working. The biggest thing that bothered people was the vocals. The vocals on Unleash the Carnivore are good, but there were two things about them that caused problems. The first was that they were only super deep inhales. This made the vocals become monotonous after the fourth song or so. The second was that they weren't loud and powerful enough. Because of this, the extreme volume of the drums and guitars buried the vocals too much.

Devourment completely fixes this issue on Conceived in Sewage. Not only do you get those memorable duper deep guttural inhales, you also hear different inhale variations, mid-range exhales, pig squeals, and some of the most spine-chilling guttural exhale growls you'll ever hear. To get a good listen to the exhales, Legalize Homicide, Parasitic Eruption, Today we Die, Tomorrow we Kill, and Conceived in Sewage are both great song examples for them. But really, you get to hear the exhaled growls a little bit on every song. On top of that, the vocals (even the deep inhales) never get covered up by the rest of the band which was my main issue with all of the previous Devourment records.

The rest of the band is much, much tighter and appear to be more confident and more organized. Even though the overall organization and structure of Devourment’s music has been improving with each release, there’s always been a little too much sloppiness present. Something must’ve cracked in this band between 2009 and 2012 because this is a substantial climb in organization. The different guitar sections seem to be less random, the tempo changes blend together much better, and the drums don’t take half a second to catch up to the new tempo right after a drastic shift in the music. That’s probably another huge improvement Devourment has made, the drums.

The drums on Molesting the Decapitated, Butcher the Weak, and Unleash the Carnivore (pretty much everything Devourment has ever released) are fucking awesome. The slamming brutality that Devourment is known for is primarily driven by the drums, not just the extremely low tuning of the guitars. The reason behind the literal explosion of brutality at the beginning of the first song on Unleash the Carnivore is THE DRUMMER. Now, the drums on Conceived in Sewage have the same brutality, different tuning, and slightly more technicality. The drummer has gotten a hell of a lot more inventive with the different patterns and tempos he comes up with. The interest factor in the drum section on previous Devourment records (most of the time) remained fairly marginal. Now, the interest factor has skyrocketed. His blast beats seem to be less chaotic, which is something I liked about him, but the sound of his new blast beats fit the new sound of the music perfectly, so I’m glad he changed his style a bit. The interesting shit he does during the slamming breakdowns in songs like (the end of) Legalize Homicide, Heaving Acid, and Parasitic Eruption are mind-blowing.

Let’s take a moment and look at the interesting breakdowns (some of the brutal death fans call them “slams”) that can be heard on this record. Most of the breakdowns that you’ll hear on this album are the fast-paced, almost groovy type. These are ones that are led by the fast double-kicks and tremolo picking with the slow headbanging part relying on the rest of what the drummer does and the bassist. Other bands that use this type of breakdown a lot include Pathology, Dying Fetus, Gorgasm, Cryptopsy, Heaven Shall Burn, and Visceral Disgorge. Although these breakdowns do appear at least once in every song off Conceived in Sewage, when I think about the songs that do, Legalize Homicide, Fucked with Rats, and Fifty Ton War Machine are the first that come to mind. Also, we have those extremely slow, bludgeoning breakdowns that can be surprisingly hard to pull off without sounding dull and boring. The slow breakdown on the song Today we Die, Tomorrow we Kill is packed with insane brutality with the combination of the fast blast beat drumming in the background and the vocalist’s deep inhales. Other songs that have really good slow slamming breakdowns, most of which have some groove to them are Carved into Ecstasy, Fifty Ton War Machine, and the mighty Parasitic Eruption.

No one was expecting something THIS GOOD out of Devourment. The band continued to blow more and more minds to pieces with each release; how the fuck could they do any better? Conceived in Sewage is the answer. Even I, a HUGE fan of this band wasn’t expecting something this intense and this good. Devourment has released yet another album that I will continue to listen to over and over again for years to come. Anyone who loves or wants to listen to the most brutal music on the planet (i.e. Nile, Guttural Secrete, Aborted, Cattle Decapitation, Skinless, etc.) needs to have this album because just about anyone that has listened to it can guarantee you that it will not disappoint. Conceived in Sewage Devourment’s best monster yet, getting my score of 19/20.