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Devian - God to the illfated - 90%

Phuling, October 19th, 2009

With a line-up consisting of men who are former members of Marduk and Nominon, and some currently also involved in Sargatanas Reign and The Legion, there’s no question to whether or not these lads are talented. But this is actually of very little interest to me; since the most important member of Devian is a guy I’d consider a good friend of mine. Tomas Nilsson is a man who’s provided me with many hours worth of music. So far I’ve loved everything he’s been a part of, no matter if it’s a death metal, crustcore, medieval folk music or an industrial troubadour rock act. When this man puts his mind to it he nails it, no matter what genre he attempts. But it’s still with some nervousness I pop my Devian cherry (as I don’t even own the first album) and press play. I have a very hard time digesting thrash metal, and this most certainly contains loads of thrash.

Whow, what a rush as the opening track "Mask of virtue" sets in and Legion’s harsh voice starts gasping. What I feel is evident right from the get go is how extraordinarily well Legion’s vocals fit with the music. And after listening through this albums several times now I think this must be some of his strongest and most varied work to date. That raspy and harsh scream he’s packing adds such brutality to the music; music that’s quite melodic otherwise. "God to the illfated" is a seemingly endless display of slick and catchy melodic guitar lines. They certainly haven’t settled with some filler riffs, but have gone all-out to include nothing but killer riffage. After the first four tracks they’ve displayed more variation in riffing than some band’s do on an entire album. They have the variation, power, catchiness, aggression and technicality down. And there’s an extreme variation in music writing as well. The base of it is a sort of blackened death/thrash mixture, but at times some more classic heavy metal recipes sneaks its way in, just as I feel a hardcore vibe on a couple of occasions.

But despite the many variations in song writing it comes together as a very fluent whole; it sounds like Devian. It’s not like they’re reinventing the wheel or anything, but it still doesn’t sound like any particular other band out there. The second track, "Assailant", is one of my clear favourites here. The heavy and ultra headbanger-friendly tempo together with its scream along-friendly chorus makes me long for a live appearance, deeply indulging myself in a sweaty moshpit. I just love "The unspoken" for its aggressive approach and absolutely killer riffing. And as soon as that last line of words appears my adrenaline level is so high it’s shooting out of my ears. The chorus of "Saintbleeder" has clean back-up vocals, which adds eerie coziness. I can’t really explain it; it just gives me goosebumps.

The production is actually quite close to perfect. It’s clean and heavy-as-hell, but it’s not too clean and digital-sounding, but retains a somewhat harsh edge. The bass is fully audible, and I love hearing it rumble as the guitars shred in all its heaviness. So what is there to complain about, or just remark on? Well, nothing, really.

Originally written for http://www.mylastchapter.net

Closer To Hell - 70%

Fulvio_Ermete, January 21st, 2009

Devian work hard: the band of former Marduk Legion (at the screams) and Emil Dragutinovic (at the beats) has already got to the second album after just a year from the debut.

And they always try to get the best out of them: one year ago they entrusted their tunes to the Fredman Studios, this time it's been Peter Tagtgren to give some help for the production duties, and with good results, I'd say.

The album is not that different from the previous chapter actually, it's evident their intention to refine and smooth the same sound matrix. Matrix which is rooted into the traditional Swedish black metal but with a decided stare backwards, towards some more thrash oriented rhythms and some melodies and arrangements of NWOBHM tradition ("South Of Halo" is a clear example, but also "Saintbleeder", with some atypical clean lines).

In short, being naughty we may say Devian try be as catchy as possible without becoming sellout, and the shot is clean. "God To The Illfated" is straight enough for the thrashers, violent enough for the deathsters, wicked enough for the blacksters, melodic enough for the defenders, and so on.

Sure, they do not offer or promise to revolutionize anything, but the work is quite successful, and there's also a sure improvement in the songwriting in comparison with the debut.

Originally written for Silent Scream http://www.silentscreamzine.com/Home.asp?Lang=ENG