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Yeah. This is the second release from Devolved, made three years after “Technologies”. Unfortunately, it isn’t as good. While the song structures are similar to that on their earlier release, they’re just…not as good.
The major reason is the production. Think early Cannibal Corpse, and you’re on the right track. While this is a billion times better than early CC, the music really does sound like that. The guitars are much more hollow and don’t pack that very important punch. The riffing is still good, but the guitar sound doesn’t make it all it could be. The drums are also more inferior than on “Technologies”. The snare drum also sounds less full, almost triggered. Is it triggered? When doing fills using the snare, it sounds like a machine gun firing. That was my first impression when I heard it, and I’m sticking by that. I’m not sure why the production is worse on “Calculated”, as it was made after “Technologies”. Record label, maybe? Plus the song "Depth Perception" follows the same pattern as "Functional Conflict", where it acts more like a filler than an actual song.
On a more positive note, the vocals are still excellent. He still has that vocal style he used on the earlier release. Again, it’s not as good here, but it still does its job nicely.
The second track, “Hybrid”, is a standout, with nice vocal and rhythm patterns. “Vex” is also very good, with a nice technical riff to begin, and used again throughout.
To be honest, there’s not much more to be said here. The production brings it down a lot, and while the songs still follow the same formula they did on “Technologies”, they’re just not as catchy. I think I just need to listen to it more to appreciate it better. But if you can get past the production issues, it is still a good death metal album, with those familiar spurts of brilliance floating around the album.
Best tracks: Hybrid, Icon, Vex