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* First off let me point out that I've got the re-recorded version of Butcher The Weak so I'm just gonna review that one.
6 years after Molesting The Decapitated came out Devourment has now returned with another extremely brutal album. This record also features a whole new line-up since Devourment broke up couple years after their debut and later on Mike Majewski and Ruben Rosas decided to reform the band, this time with Mike on vocals and Ruben taking the guitar and the drums & bass were left for new names: Eric Park and Chris Andrews.
But now enough with the background info! There's more to be read in my review for Molesting The Decapitated but now let's talk about the general sound of this CD. So first off the production is completely different to anything this band has done before. It's clearer and actually sounds heavier too because the guitar and drum tracks have now become way more powerful than before. The new line-up just crushes! The band obviously had way more budget to record and properly mix this record and Butcher The Weak isn't so garage-like as Molesting The Decapitated was but this one really sounds by all means like an actual studio album. Every instrument is audible too. The album starts off with some creepy feeling created with an audio clip of an actual interview with the well known pedophile/rapist/necrophile/serial killer John Wayne Gacy (search his name on youtube and you should find a 2 and half minute video clip including the original piece) and then...a drum fill comes and goes and the hell is unleashed...
Now this is the first record to feature the former bassist Mike Majewski on lead vocals. Mike's guttural style is a bit different to Ruben Rosas and Wayne Knupp since he doesn't sound as... burpy as those guys did. Actually Majewski's guttural voice is even a bit weaker and less decipherable (if that's possible) than Ruben's and even these days I think Ruben was the better guy at gutturals. Mike still does some hip hop derived growl rhythms but only for certain slam sections that pound in matchable rhythm with the vocals. One new thing in the vocal department however...is the use of those decipherable and more standard death metal type of growls. I'm surprised now one has mentioned this yet...sounding pretty much like Frank Mullen on Suffocation's Pierced From Within these growls are powerful, loud and clear and they sound REALLY brutal each time they appear. I'm not exactly sure who performs these vocals (probably the bassist Chris Andrews) but there's a little of those in every song, in some songs it can be just one line or certain words here and there (3 first tracks) but there's also songs where several lines or even entire verses are growled with this style. Devourment is still maintaining the gutturals as main vocals here but the additional decipherable growls offer great variety to it. The lyrics are entirely written by Ruben and Mike (mostly Mike) and they still carry the same themes about gore, rape, necrophilia and "whores that suck dick for money"...
Now the guitars...placing Ruben Rosas on guitars was without a doubt the best choice this band could have possibly done! Even though he's no longer belting out awesome gutturals in the vocal department he certainly makes up for it with his amazing fucking riffs! Ruben does a whole lot of chugging and his riffs actually sound more catchy and memorable than what Brain and Kevin Clark played in the older Devourment records. He's got a bit different style to old Devourment...he has a somewhat more technical approach and his fast riffs sound more like what a "normal" brutal death metal band would do though Ruben still bases his riffing mainly on well planned chord and palm mute usage. The slam breakdowns aren't as overly used as before making sure that when they appear they are fucking massive. Butcher The Weak has a whole lot of fast parts and unlike Brain's fast riffs, Ruben doesn't sound like complete mess. Oh and did I mention the guitar tone fucking kicks ass? Well it does...there's a whole lot of distortion and thanks to the good production the guitar sounds really thick and powerful all the time.
In general the songs do not vary that much, each one of them has blast beats, gravity blasts and heavy slams. But if there's some tracks that stand out in terms of variety I'd say Serial Cocksucker and Baby Killer. Serial Cocksucker gets started by the drummer giving the tempo count with 4 cymbal hits, then the guitars turn on and the song gets going with slow and heavy-ass slam riffing. Serial Cocksucker maintains this quite long but eventually it would of course build up to more speed and blasting brutality. Then we have the Devourment classic song Baby Killer...re-recorded once again for this album. The first version Baby Killer appeared on 1.3.8 album, then it was re-recorded for the original Butcher The Weak and now it was recorded for the third time for this re-release. They've changed couple riffs in this song (especially the riff near the end) but the main structure stays the same: starts slowly, then involves some blast beats but it's mostly slower or mid tempo slam riffing and finally fades out in about 4 and half minutes. Baby Killer is the closest song here to the earlier Devourment (obviously since it's an old song just recorded again) with its dominating slam breakdowns and more simplistic riffs. There's no solos in this album or anything but the change in guitar riffing is all in all quite notable.
The bass guitar is being handled by Chris Andrews who comes from Kill The Client (he played drums in KTC but for some reason he's a bassist now). Anyway the bad thing about him is that he likes to use lots of distortion in his bass. The distorted bass is pretty audible and may make the guitar tracks a bit fuzzy at times but overall it's still no major problem or anything.
Then the drums are done by a new guy called Eric Park. I gotta admit this guy isn't exactly as good as Brad Fincher was and Eric also seems to trigger his drums way more than Brad but nevertheless Eric is a great drummer. He does very fast blast beats and gravity blasts and every once in a while he throws a nice fill in there too. The production on drums absolutely kills here...the snare is very audible and sounds really powerful, though a bit sloppy but I like it that way. It makes the overall sound much more brutal. Eric seems to suffer from "average" double bass speed though...which is the only con I can find in this guy. I'm not calling him slow by any means but Brad was just faster...
Now what else...well maybe I'm just gonna mention the original version of Butcher The Weak anyway. The main differences are in production (clearer sound, more powerful drums) and also the original recording does not have any of these decipherable growls, apart from the song Autoerotic Asphyxiation. Also certain guitar and drum parts have been changed, for example the drum intro in the title track is different and also the beginning of Serial Cocksucker has this guitar chord thing added. Also the ending of Fuck Her Head Off has been changed where the band plays slowly then starts adding speed as Mike sings "and faster....and faster....and faster". In the re-recording that final lyric with the decipherable Suffocation growls and instrumentally they changed the ending more intense as well. But mainly the re-recording is just a top notch and a whole lot more brutal version of Butcher The Weak. That's why I'd like to consider the original Butcher The Weak a demo album and the re-recording the actual CD, especially when the original one didn't even have a record label releasing it like the re-recording was released by Brutal Bands.
So at the end of the day Devourment who raised the bar of brutality in 1999 has done something even I thought was impossible: raised the bar even higher! Butcher The Weak actually sounds even more brutal than Molesting The Decapitated thanks to the top notch production and crushing riffs by Ruben Rosas. Actually I'd say this is the MOST brutal death metal music I have ever heard in my life! Death metal just CAN'T get more brutal than this, if it does then it's gonna be so fucking brutal that it's not even death metal anymore. Then it would fall under grindcore brutality... but anyway Butcher the Weak is one fucking brutal, catchy and enjoyable record. This makes me really excited about the brand new Devourment record coming out soon...it's only couple days from when I'm writing this that Unleash The Carnivores will come out!
Molesting The Decapitated still has some qualities where it beats this one any day but Butcher The Weak has its own pros too. Where Molesting has atmospherically and vocally (gutturals) the advantage, Butcher makes up for it with really brutal killer production and more catchy riffing...and the decipherable growl parts. That's why I'll just rate this the same as I rated Molesting The Decapitated: 95 points.
(Note: My copy of this album is the Brutal Bands re-release.)
I might as well answer the central question of this album right off the bat: yes, it does live up to 'Molesting The Decapitated' in every way, a feat that many likely thought utterly impossible in the wake of that slam classic. If we were discussing the original, self-produced version, the story might be different; the first run of this album suffered from a rather muddy and sloppy production, whereas the later release is much more audible and articulate. The content remains the same though: nasty, guttural slam death from those who essentially invented the genre. Like the first album, it's phenomenal and mandatory for any brutal death metal fan. It stays exciting after numerous listens and never loses that power and brutality it conveys the very first time you put the disc in your player.
The most unique element of this seminal slam album is that the slams really aren't the centerpiece of the music like they were on the first. This could be more reasonably described as straightforward brutal death metal than the rather precise moniker of 'slam death', as the breakdowns are now used simply as an element to the music as opposed to its focus. The actual form of the slam sections has been changed as well: instead of being based around Suffocation-style guitar and drum churning with syncopated, hip-hop-derived vocal rhythms, each instrumental voice now acts as a harmonic hammer, slamming down on the same notes together with little of the drum and vocal variation that defined the first album. For those like me who enjoyed the subtle snare and vocal grooves of 'Molesting The Decapitated' it can be a bit disappointing, but overall the song structures flow a bit better and the slams are woven into the grinds in a more logical sense. What it sacrifices in bizarre charm it makes up for in professionalism.
The crucial difference between this album and the first is the increased importance of the grind sections in the overall structure of the music. They seem to have more actual importance now; on 'Molesting The Decapitated' they had one use and one use only: to gather tension to be released by the breakdowns. But here the riffs have greater significance, and instead of being a blunt instrument employed for the sake of heaviness and nothing else, they actually craft some pretty memorable riffs from time to time. The overfull, ultra-bassy production can occasionally make them a bit difficult to pick out (though not nearly as bad as the original release of this album), but they're most certainly there. Everything's much more subtle; transfers between slam and grind are delivered through bridge riffs instead of sudden stop/start mechanics and it all feels much more musical than it was before.
None of this really conveys the pure aural violence of this music though. Brutality is hard to convey through text. I can assure you though, it's there in spades. The cover art depicts the sonic qualities rather well. Mandatory purchase, buy or die, you know the drill.
Once I found out that Devourment had released a follow up to Molesting the Decapitated, I just had to hear it. The song Butcher the Weak is simply incredible, everything about this album is simply genius. It is not especially technical. The drummer doesn't play at 4000bpm. But what Devourment are ingenius at is creating a blast beat ridden groovy chunk of brutal death Metal.
The best thing about this album has to be the drumming. The drummer is damn capable at what he does, blast beats, really fast double bass and brutal stuff like that. He clearly has alot of stamina and he even displays use of gravity blasts, particularly on the track Butcher the Weak, which is definitely the best track of the album. The drums are extremely well produced, the bass drums being triggered but not overtly noticable and the snare sounding ungeneric but still good.
The vocals are unbelievably inhuman and the change from Wayne Knupp to Mike Majewski has not caused any significant problems. While the vocals are definitely different, they sound excellent, slightly higher but much more inhuman. The vocals are somewhat difficult to interpret, although surprisingly clear for the genre. They are not the generic cookie-cutter "cookie monster" growls of Suffocation/Cannibal Corpse/Deicide Stylings, of a much throatier, guttural form. The best track vocally is by far the groovy Babykiller, which has an intro containing somewhat different sounding, clearer vocals. The lyrical themes are typical, however, extreme in nature, and unlike other bands which just follow the trend, you can genuinely believe that the person singing is fucked up in the head, with lines like "Forcing the blood soaked gore mercilessly down my throat, Pieces of baby are lodged inside me."
The guitars in the songs play what is a mix of heavily distorted tremolo picked heavy riffs and groovy slams which don't drag down into slow and monotonous breakdowns. While their certainly are some slower down-tempo slam riffs, the songs don't incite any kind of windmill rituals for your neighbourhood emo to masturbate over. The guitarists clearly know how to cause chaos too, the blast beat - guitar combination actually sounds heavy, not just another gimmick that bands use. The riffs, while not exactly technical, are groovy and heavy, and that is what this band aims for.
The bass, unfortunately, is not very noticable, and so warrants a -5% penalty.
Overall however, this album is genius and is a perfect sequel to Molesting the Decapitated. Keep it brutal!!
When I first heard tracks from Molesting the Decapitated, I ordered it at restream.com instantly. When I heard about 1.3.8, did the same.
And when I head that Devourment was coming out with a SELF PRODUCED 2nd Album.. well I nearly hit the ceiling. I have never heard a self produced from any great band that I didn't like. No restrictions, no overproduction.
So I ordered Butcher the Weak, and when I got it, I did hit the ceiling. More of everything that made Devourment great, chalk full of every amazing quality that made Devourment. Nothing new, nothing more. Just new ways to arrange the brutality, still sounding raw, and brutal as ever.
All I could ever ask for. Too many bands are forced to change their style for the attention defict, change hungry, bastards that force bands to change when they've got a good thing going. If you need a new sound? Pick up a different band, let bands who are great just keep doing what makes them great. Ya Devourment isn't breaking new ground, but it proves they know there are fans like me, who buy Devourment records only hoping to hear pure Devourment.
When they came out this August with a new re-recorded version, I was actually apprehensive. Not because I'd ever been disappointed with Devourment before, but because I thought Butcher the Weak was perfect as it was. Sure enough I gave into temptation and I picked up the re-record, and O MY FUCKING GOD, IT's STILL RAW as hell, and they changed enough fills/tempos, to make it actually neither a better/worse take on the album, but just an entirely new brutal interpretations of all the songs on Butcher the Weak.
Personally I consider this the 3rd Devourment album cause I can throw on either version depending on my mood, just like I would between different seperate releases, and there has never been 2 versions of any one album I could do that with before.
All hail the mighty Devourment m/ can't wait for album #4
With a name like "Devourment", one would most likely expect a lot of gutteral vocals, blast beats and heavy as fuck guitars. And yes, Its all there. Good news for some...and thats about it. All it got is its load of aggression with absolutely no direction or intelligent form. Songwriting? Something unique? Hahahaha!
After getting this album from a friend who hyped it up to the sky, I eagerly played it ,expecting the moon. The album starts off with a creepy spoken word intro about some guy talking about his job in a mortuary, (I think that little bit is more interesting than the rest of the album.) and then the music explodes...blast beats and growls and all. Good so far.
Ill admit , the first time I heard it , it was kinda cool for the first 2 minutes and then I started to wait for something interesting, or at least something different. But sadly for me, it never happened. One thing that sucks hard about "Butcher the weak" is that the songs are all repetitive, in a very annoying way. I can listen to Marduks Panzer division marduk all day , the sheer speed, aggresion and ambience of the album makes up for any monotony.
The album mostly goes "*really fast part with blasts *CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG *cum gargling pig sqeals* CHUG CHUG CHUG" and so on... for 30 whole minutes.
Im not impressed. So its got blast beats, and the guitars sound heavy as fuck and some gutteral vocals. So what what??? The point is, I can name 40 other awesome bands who have all this and still do a better job with their music in terms of songwriting and riffs.
The vocalist (whos name I really dont care about) seems to be merely showing off how "gutteral" he can go with his vocals. Im speaking for myself when I say that vocals being indecipherable DO NOT count as "brutal". Pronounciation is a very important thing in death metal vocals. This means you pronounce the words you have written for your band, you dont print "I fuck corpses and kill babies" on the lyrics booklet and simply make gargling sounds into the mic that bear absolutely no resemblence to the words.
I feel they could have might as well saved themselves the trouble of coming up with their retarded lyrics about gore and perversion which already have been done to death, only a couple of million times. Dont get me wrong, Cannibal Corpses "I cum blood" and "Butchered at birth" were fucking classics, but then again, those two songs had kick ass music, and vocals to go along with it and even after more than a decade they remain classics to this day.
On to the vocals now.Its bad enough the vocalist sounds like a chimp with down syndrome getting fisted by big foot, its even worse that it has become a trend , yes I said "trend"... a trend in the "br00tal death metal" scene to have vocals like that. Leave it to bands like "devourment" to over saturate the scene with their (lame) brand of metal. This pathetic excuse of an album is run of the mill, mosh core which brings nothing new to the table.
If youre looking for something more technical or multi faceted, dont even think about looking at this album. Go listen to something else. If monotonous CHUG-A-CHUG riffs and retarded pig squeals being passed off as "gutteral" gives you a hard on, then by all means, be my guest and pick this up. You see, there are plenty of people in the under ground death metal scene who simply just want their music to be brutal without caring for anything else.
These are the same primitive idiots who fling poo at bands for *gasp* not having blast beats and vocals that DONT sound like toilets being flushed. And devourments "butcher the weak" serves as great wanking material for many of these empty headed br00tality seekers. Im pretty sure it has given many an empty head something to bang to.
Im giving this piece of shit a 2 rating for sound quality and enjoying the CHUG-A-CHUG for the first 2 minutes.
It's 6 years later and after much delay and lineup changes, Devourment return with their follow up to 1999's Molesting the Decapitated. Over this course of time MTD has become the album from which most brutal, slamming death metal is compared. Many, myself included, thought, "How the fuck are they gonna do something as good?" Well, fuck, they've actually done it and I might say it's even better.
After many lineup changes over the years, Ruben Rosas and Mike Majewski are still the main men behind this outfit. Ruben has switched over to guitar (and bass for the recording) from vocals and Mike is now the man on the mic.
What we have here is 7 brand new songs, as well as a newly recorded and revamped version of "Babykiller". 8 tracks of utter brutality. The title track starts us off and as soon as it kicks in, you're pummeled with the massive, low end-heavy production. The guitar sound on this thing makes MTD flee for cover.
The next thing that's noticed is how much better and tighter the drumming is. Eric Park (ex-Suture) is behind the kit now and he's very welcome. He's able to keep the Devourment style, with the two hand snare rolls and gravity blasts, but also adds his own element of technicality with cool fills throughout.
As for the vocals, Mike sounds pretty much like a mix of Ruben and original vocalist Wayne Knupp. Overall he's lower than Ruben, like Wayne, but doesn't quite gurgle quite as sickeningly. The vocals were the part of this album I was most afraid to hear because Ruben did such a perfect job on MTD. Well, in my opinion, I still prefer Ruben's vocals, but Mike does an awesome fucking job.
All in all, the production, song quality and overall ferocity of this album make me enjoy it more than the mighty Molesting the Decapitated. Devourment have shown to me that they are still the undisputed champions of brutal, slamming death metal.