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Eager with anticipation, I had heard about this band and absolutely had to listen to it. I had people who were saying how amazing this sounds and how everything works so well together and how I had to pick this album up. I'm here to tell you -- that is not the case.
There are three major problems not only with "1.3.8." but Devourment in general.
First and foremost, the guitars and bass practically don't go anywhere, and if they did, they are sorely drowned out by the constant blast beats of the drum. The drummer's continuous blast beating is one thing I have to give credit to, as it requires a lot of energy to maintain that, but even that gets drowned out when the "singer" (note the quotes because I use the term loosely) attempts to dole out the lyrics by making every lyric sound identical to each other, and sounding like a constipated pig griping because he can't pass anything through his intestines. To see what I mean, try pronouncing words like "abscess" or "killer". They are clearly different words, are they not? It seems like the singer was just grunting for five minutes or so every single song and then consults a local horror movie director to see what could be written in the lyric sheet to go with it.
When people tell me "vokills" are not important in a death metal song, I understand this. But I also ask the question: Why then was this album recorded with the "vokills" so overwhelmingly dominant that you can't even hear any of the other things that are supposed to make it good until the "GRUNTGRUNTGRUNTGRUNTGRUNT" stops?
The second major problem is that death metal has gotten a negative connotation over its material because of bands like this. Death metal is, generally speaking, an art. It is something that requires time, sophistication and most of all, congruence. Bands like Quo Vadis and Spawn of Possession get this. Devourment throws all that out the window for one thing and one thing only: "BRUTALITY!". A good death metal song has a lot of things that make it good -- intense guitars, awesome drumming and "vokills" done in balance. Listen to a band like Suffocation for an example of this. You get as much of the brutal lyrics, but also get guitars and drums done in tune with it. Devourment decided that blast beats and pig grunting was an acceptable substitute for any sort of technical aspect of the music. Does it work? For some people, but they're not looking for good death metal.
Third, and last, is variety. What's that, you might ask? It's what separates one song from another. Devourment doesn't have it. What it has is nearly 50 minutes of talking about killing babies, fucking corpses and other forms of torture and brutality. And to be honest, it gets tedious after a while. I know there's shock value in saying it for a song or two, but when every song is like this, what's to keep you from just downloading one track and playing it 12 times? Just download any one song of your choosing, because that's the level of variety that you're liable to get and you'll save money in the process. There is nothing to deferentiate, say "Babykiller" from "Shroud of Encryption" from "Fucked To Death" or any of the other songs on this album. Literally, every song on this album sounds practically identical.
In conclusion, if you get a boner by hearing "BRUTALITY!!!!!" and want a band that is completely devoid of any technical aspects save the ability to blast beat and grunt like a pig over and over again, then by all means, pick this album up, turn it up late at night and annoy your mother. But if you want to hear some death metal done right, avoid this album at all costs. Your ears and appreciation for music will thank you.
Okay, so this is a must have for any brutal death metal fan. Devourment has gotten quite a reputation as the godfathers of slam death metal, a genre known for its frequent use of slam riffs or "slams" (which are more complex breakdowns), extremely guttural vocals and gravity blasts. Even though thousands of new slam bands pop up every day, Devourment are still considered to be the kings of the genre.
This compilation consists of a new track, ‘Babykiller’ (which is the sole inspiration for my username by the way), 3 tracks from the ‘Impaled’ demo and 8 tracks from their first studio album ‘Molesting The Decapitated’. So if you don’t already own ‘Molesting’ you should definitely get this instead. ‘Babykiller’ perfectly sets the formula for slam death metal, with its groovy hip-hop rhythms and “rapping” vocals. This song got some really cool tempo changes with some serious chaotic blasting in between the groovy main riff. This is very significant for Devourment and the whole genre in general, and the contrast makes the groovy slam sections sound even groovier than before.
When it comes to the ‘Impaled’ demo, I don’t listen much to that. The production is really sludgy, and even though it fits the music, it’s nowhere as good as the rest of the album. It’s worth listening to, though, and if it wasn’t for the extreme quality on 'Babykiller' and ‘Molesting The Decapitated’ then I would have been listening to this all day. Wayne Knupp (R.I.P.) did the vocals on both ‘Babykiller’ and these three songs, while Ruben Rosas did ‘Molesting’.
So, over to ‘Molesting The Decapitated’, this is an incredible album on its own. It’s so straightforward, yet very messy. Metal elitists would love to bash this album for what it’s worth, but I still think it’s totally fucking awesome, no band has ever come close to the brutality displayed on this album. Ruben Rosas’s extremely guttural growls, has never been matched by any other death metal vocalist, although there are plenty of other sick “gutturals” out there. The chugging guitar riffs, and the insanely fast blast beats also contributes to the brutal experience. It starts off with the very fast 'Festering Vomitous Mass', which is short compared to the next one, 'Postmortal Coprophagia' which lasts for about 6 minutes and 16 seconds. Although newcomers to the genre will think all the songs sound alike, you still won’t get bored listening to this. It’s hard to pick a favorite, because all the songs are great. I still think ‘Self Disembowelment’ stands out the most.
The lyrics (and yes there are lyrics) are just as disgusting as the music. Especially 'Fucked To Death' has some brutal lyrics. They’re dumb, but not badly written at all, and as long as you look at it as entertainment then you won’t have a problem with it. Here you will find lyrics about eating old people’s excrements ('Postmortal Coprophagia'), self disembowelment ('Self Disembowelment'), “doing” chicks to death ('Fucked To Death') and molesting decapitated hookers ('Molesting The Decapitated'), quite charming lyrics in other words.
The production is decent but not great. The drums are not always that audible, but as I said earlier, it fits the music (if you want a crystal clear production, then listen to something else). I really can’t complain much, because this album will always mean something special to me as a metalhead. If you’re only planning to purchase ONE Devourment album (although I would advice you to buy them all), then this is the one you should get. No fucking doubt.
As far as kicking ass goes, Devourment has sort of cornered the market on the very concept of ass-kicking, and it's silly that people attempt to deny it. Even if you don't like slam, not liking Devourment is akin to not liking death metal and not even enjoying Possessed from time to time. I mean, really, as the godfathers of the style they've really mastered the concept of slam to the point where it transcends the natural limitations of the style to the point where everyone should really be enjoying it; if you don't, you're lying or you're missing the crucial 'enjoys cool music' part of the brainstem, in which case you can't be helped. Suicide may be your only option, to be honest. In any case, Devourment never really let the whole idea of slam as a genre overwhelm their music; they are, after all, the ones who essentially invented, and probably invented it by listening to 'Liege Of Inveracity' a few hundred times and saying "holy shit guys, we can do that!"
'1.3.8.' is the ubiquitous compilation of early Devourment. It opens up with the classic 'Babykiller', albeit in a rather primitive form, and it's fantastic; it's got the most archtypical slam ever halfway through and the blasting sections are interesting in their filthiness and chaos. When you get down to it, the slams are the most coherent thing about Devourment; apart from the periodic mid-paced riffs, it's not like you really know what the fuck is going on when the snare rolls and random tremolo riffs start, you just know it's ugly and cool. Those are the parts where you sip your beer and reduce the intensity of your headbanging. When the tempo drops again, THEN you get to feel angry and hit something.
The three tracks off the 'Impaled' demo are next. This is where opinions of Devourment fans split a bit, because these are a weird few songs. There's a particularly sludgy, sewer-style production at work here, and everything sort of sounds like a bass guitar, even the vocals. The structures of these tracks are even less coherent and more blurring than usual Devourment fair around the 'Molesting The Decapitated' time period, and in a lot of ways it resembles goregrind more than death metal at times; it's very raw and noisy and it's probably responsible for influencing a lot of the more filthy artists in the Colombian slam scene who probably heard this and promptly ignored anything else an American slam band did for the next decade or so. Personally, I don't listen to these tracks very often; the idea of a super noisy sludge/death mixture is pretty sweet, but when I listen to Devourment I'm there for the slam more than the chaos. They're cool but not super compelling to me; mileage varies considerably among different people.
But the meat of this compilation is in the concluding eight tracks, which form the legendary 'Molesting The Decapitated' from 1999. To be honest, it's classic for a reason. As probably the first example of full-fledged slam death, it definitely doesn't lack anything insofar as songwriting goes. It's probably a good thing that the band invented slam more as a mistake than an intentional songwriting goal; it results in tracks with more intricacy and variation than a lot of modern slam death bands, who sort of fall into the funeral doom trap of making music that suits the genre and not much else, with songs that are nothing more than linear blasting followed by slams followed by blasting and more slams and so on. It's cool sometimes, but Devourment really takes it to the next level by having some, you know, actual songwriting to back up all the CHUG CHUG CHUG.
The sloppy, super-heavy production is a great asset, with slightly buried drums placed pretty far under the very ugly guitars and constantly rumbling basstrain which is felt more than heard. The vocals just sort of lounge around; they're not executed precisely, and they don't need to be; they're there to be disgusting and they perform admirably at the task. The coolest parts of 'Molesting The Decapitated', ironically, are not really the slam parts at all; it's during the more midpaced, traditionally modern brutal death metal parts where the band shows their ability to craft actually engaging riffs and rhythms, which alone sets them above a ton of other slam bands. Songs like the title track or 'Devour The Damned' are like an elephant dick to the face, particularly the latter, which might just be my favorite Devourment track of all time, being bigger, dumber, and heavier than all the others. I guess that's kind of like being the fattest dude on an episode of Ricki Lake, but this is slam we're talking about, and I don't really expect anything more from an album called 'Molesting The Decapitated'.
For a lot of people, 'Butcher The Weak' is a more immediately pleasing album from this band; it's definitely more coherent, better played, and better produced. But then again, another section of the population finds charm in the primordial ooze that is early Devourment. Either way, it's a pretty masterful release for slam fans and if you want a well-rounded look at the underground metal scene, this is a pretty important part of it, since it gives you a peek not only at the seminal full-length but a couple other things as well. As usual, recommended; even if you don't like it, it's a pretty important release for anyone into a more holistic look at death metal.
Now let me just start by stating that I really like Devourment and have always been able to listen to them now and then without getting bored of them. That said, what is this a compilation of? One album and a bunch of promos/demos? If you're going to put out a sort of "best of" album, best do it when you actually have a few more releases under your belt worthy of being considered great. I wanted something that would show me the spectrum of Devourments' career, not a CD that threw together some of the bands early demos and called it their best shit. Honestly, what were they thinking?
Let me just mention that shit, is not brutal death metal, by any means. It's just louder grind. Devourment is actually one of the shining examples of why I can't get into some grind, with their vocals. Now I can listen to gurggles and growls but this is just boring. He doesn't even try to do something different, diverse, or interesting. It becomes extremely difficult to sit through the entire album without falling asleep or just wanting to listen to something else.
The guitar work is pretty good. However this shit is nowhere near technical and/or brutal death metal. It's mostly just heavy groove death grind. They change it up once in a while but nothing that's enough to want to listen to it again. The best example of where the riffing really comes through is on the first sone "Babykiller", mostly because that's the only song on the whole album that really stands out. After that the rest of the songs sound kind of dumbed down in comparison.
The drumming is okay, nothing special. In fact not it's not even worth getting into. All I can say is that this is NOT Devourments' greatest work and if you are looking for that here, then you're looking in the wrong place. Go pick up one of their latest albums and save yourself the time. If you're really bored and just want to check out their early shit, then be all means look into it. But you better borrow it from a friend or something, don't waste you rmoney.
If anyone hasn’t realized this yet, brutal death metal for the most part, has been a dry well for a while now, coughing up nothing but tiny, mummified, hunks of fecal matter with the occasional groove-laden Dying Fetus or Suffocation clone. A word of warning: if you come across bands using moniker’s like Fluffocation, Enslamriffament, and Lividity, they probably don’t offer anything worth a listen. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Devourment. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll skip the history lesson, mainly, because anyone who hasn’t heard of these guys has probably never enjoyed metal of any kind (except maybe glam and power...nothing against power metal...just saying...). I’m sure most of you are muttering threats to me right now for wasting your time, but well, it has to be known: Devourment kicks ass and I’m extremely anxious to get the new album the day it’s released. There. I said it.
But anyway, Devourment released their first effort, Molesting The Decapitated a few years ago, and after getting over the disgusting album cover, I picked it up and loved every second of it. That’s kind of what surprised me. I hate this genre most of the time, but wow. I literally thrashed my spine out of balance. Devourment plays (if you don’t know this either) very down tuned, thickly groove laden brutal death grind with some of the most emetic vocals ever to be released from a human throat. The music is more technical than the majority of brutal death metal, but still holds the same catchiness we all love so very much. Wait... what am I saying? There are no breakdowns. This album is solely breakdowns. Songs tend to follow this pattern: blast, wordless gurgle, groove, slow groove, slower groove, sludgy doobie rollin’ slowest groove, blast, and repeat from step 3. Not only that, but the drummer is of very high quality, and can blast like a madman on angel dust. Sounds stupid, right? If you said yes, but are extremely interested anyway, you’re officially cool enough to be my friend, wife, yacht cleaner, etc...
1.3.8. is a compilation of their first career album, their very raw three song demo, and a newly recorded track with the band’s original vocalist, Wayne Knupp at the mic. The new track is more of a death metal track, with an emphasis on being heavy instead of technical, and besides the semi-rough production leaving the guitars with a weird sound quality, is an incredibly good listen. Ruben, the band’s vocalist on Molesting the Decapitated, was (very) unfortunately arrested for something a while back, and everyone thought it was the end of Devourment, but voila! They’re back with a vengeance!
If you’re all still in a rut about this band’s genre, keep it up because I practically have a club, but never pass up the opportunity to check out a hugely acclaimed underground band like this. Who knows? You may build an alter to the groovy slam riff. Get out of your goddam hot tub, put the fez and the cuban away right now and get yourself some of the most brutal music ever created. You may end up loving it as much as I do. Or not. But try it anyway.
1.3.8. is the police code for grave robbery. After I listening to this album, I feel robbed of my senses. Sickest band ever, in my opinion. Riot-inducing slams, ultra-guttural vokills, total fucking, earth-smashing heaviness! This is one of the top five death metal albums ever, easily.
Now to the review: The album starts off with the last "official" Devourment song "Babykiller" recorded with original vocalist Wayne Knupp, it's sick, heavy, twisted, guttural, and the production is very good. "Babykiller" is more NYDM-influenced than it would be TX-style from "MTD". The riffs are very clear, because as I said before, the production is strong. The drumming is tight, the riffs are heavy and catchy, per usual with Devourment.
The second part of this release is the long out-of-pring Impaled demo from '97. This also features Wayne Knupp on vocals. It's pretty good, the production is freakin' horrible, as you'd expect, but does that hurt this or help it? You appreciate these songs more when you listen to their later re-recorded versions on the godlike MOLESTING THE DECAPITATED full-length.
The riffs are best heard during breakdowns. The drums are the most present aspect of Impaled; they drown out everything, including 75% of the riffs. Hey, I didn't say that was bad thing, though.
The third part, Molesting the Decapitated, features some of the sickest slams ever. I mean, there are literally slams on top of slams here. True brutal guttural sewer-style amphibian death metal -l-. It starts off with Geraldo Rivera interviewing a random serial killer/psychopath, then goes right into Festering Vomitous Mass, short, sweet and a good opener. Ruben is buzzing like a bullfrog. Next is the highlight of the album "Postmortal Coprophagia," which is a very, very good song. Excellent drumming & riffs. The lyrics are sick too, like at 2:36 when Ruben screams "I kill motherfuckers everyday!! Let these dead fucks unite,"awesome. Primitive brutality. Sort of in a neandertal It's almost an anthem of brutality, br666fuckingtality. Headbanging madness. Fucked To Death is another of my favourite tracks on this album, it's hate-filled, violent, and leaves me with a feeling of digust towards mankind. The rest of the album is good, but those are my personal favourites. Molesting the Decapitated, the title is groovy, and has some sick breakdowns as well. The riffs are great, courtesy of Brain. Vocals were performed to the highest degree by Ruben; the drumming is tight and not overbearing; Mike's lyrics are very good, he refrains from getting too "articulate", in essence practing KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), they are very effective to the overall atmosphere of the music. They add a sort of "chaotic" feel to the album. The album shows you Devourment's progression from Imapled to Babykiller. A metal masterpiece.