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On "Conceived In Sewage" we see a slightly (slightly being a keyword here) different Devourment, we have the trademark slams, the ultra meaty guitar and bass recordings, Mike's extremely guttural vocals and Eric Park's excellent drumming, so why have people been complaining so much about this release? I will be honest, when I first heard material from this album I was slightly weary of where Devourment were taking their sound but upon listening to this a couple of times, it really has grown on me.
A main focus point of hate aimed at this release is the vocals, Mike's performance here is more versatile than on previous releases, ranging from his trademark mountain-moving gutturals to a clearer, more distinguishable standard growl/grunt and the occasional higher pitched scream (no deathcore screams, don't worry). I completely understand why these guys decided to incorporate a more versatile mix of vocals on this album, it helps break up the monotony that can weaken many ultra-brutal death metal albums. Take their previous release "Unleash The Carnivore", whilst I seriously dig that album no one can deny that the highly guttural vocals became monotonous by the time you reached the last few tracks of the album. Furthermore, I can imagine that laying down guttural vocals over every single track and live performance year after year can become boring for a musician, so on the whole I do not understand the beef some people have had with the vocal performance on "Conceived In Sewage". Mike Majewski has proven himself as a versatile vocalist on this release.
In regards to the song-writing, people have complained about the lack of slams on this release. I don't know what these people have been listening too because this album is still packed with slams, for example "Legalize Homicide", " Parasitic Eruption" , "Heaving Acid" and "Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill" all have some incredibly powerful slam sections within it. The only difference this time round is that the riffs surrounding the slams are based around more traditional death metal riffs, one particular influence I could hear throughout this album was a slight nod towards Immolation style brooding and dissonant riffs, this combined with Devourment's signature blasting and slamming sections I found to breath some life into this album, once again breaking up the monotonous nature that can be hard to avoid within brutal death metal.
The change in song-writing, like the change in vocal approach, I believe is linked to the fact these guys simply didn't want to produce another fully slam based album as there is a risk that it will simply be forgotten and tossed onto an ever growing pile of death metal albums that didn't really stand out in any way. Look at it this way, Devourment have released 24 songs over three full length releases, all of which are heavily based around slams. Now I challenge you to pick up a guitar and create 24 slam tracks that manage to stay fresh and sound different. If you complete this, do you think you will be able to write another full-length based around slams only?
Now if you look at my score, you will notice I am not completely ass-licking this release as the pinnacle of death metal, there are some this about this album that bring it down in my book. Firstly, whilst the production seriously packs a punch I really wish that the bass playing was given more clarity on this release, whilst you can tell it is there through the sheer amount of bass end this record has I would love to hear a filthy, clunky bass cut through the mix better.
Another slight issue with this album is that the tracks run together slightly but this is something that is incredibly hard to avoid within extreme metal, so I do not feel that this seriously damages the overall quality of the album. There are still some incredible tracks, such as the opener "Legalize Homicide" and my personal favourite track "Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill" the latter being full of highly memorable riffs. I do also believe that Travis Ryan's guest vocals on this album could have been utilised much better, they are surprisingly slightly lower in the mix and could have been used to far greater effect. My only other tiny beef is that I would have loved to hear more gravity blasting from Eric Park as has successfully incorporated these into previous albums.
Overall, this album is far better than people have made it out to be, whilst I will always pick "Molesting The Decapitated" and "Butcher The Weak" as superior albums, "Conceived In Sewage" is no joke and is a strong 4th album for Devourment. Their experimentation should be praised as this album is pretty original in my eyes, I cannot think of any particular album this sounds like (I own about 700 metal cds, most of which are death metal, so I have heard plenty in my time).
Upon writing this, Devourment seem to have split up, this has not been confirmed but I seriously hope they get there shit together and continue releasing strong material. The backlash from this album does not seem to have helped the situation within the band, on one YouTube video you can even hear Mike say "No one likes our new shit, but we are going to play some anyway" during a show.
To the naysayers- Listen to this again.
Like the music? Buy the fucking album.
- Legalize Homicide
- Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill
- Parasitic Eruption
- Heaving Acid
Devourment's 1999 debut 'Molesting the Decapitated' has been hailed as a landmark release in the slam death genre (basically brutal death metal with an excess of breakdowns). Following a never ending change of members and general troubles within the band we find ourselves in the year 2013 and the release of the bands mere fourth full-length.
Compared to the debut the breakdowns on 'Conceived in Sewage' are kept to a minimum revealing a rather standard brutal death metal sound, thus losing what once made Devourment fairly original. The music is generally well performed and the vocals and production ok. Still I can't help to notice I have heard every single note on this album before. This is nothing more than a standard garden variety brutal death metal album.
What makes matters even worse is the lack of songwriting skills. This is predictable, boring and follows every rule in the book. A few times some of the songs take a bit of an interesting development, but they generally fade back into boredom and predictability before they get the chance to take of properly. I sincerely cannot pick a single favourite track from this album and most of the time I find myself thinking of what to have for dinner or urging to switch to the new Suffocation instead.
There are some brilliant bands out there bending the rather narrow brutal death metal formula making for an interesting listen. The Devourment of 2013 is not one of those bands. If you're new to the genre you might love this. If you've been around for a while, try Prostitute Disfigurement or Skinless instead.
Choice cuts: none
Performance: 7 out of 10
Originality: 2 out of 10
Production: 7 out of 10
Vocals: 6 out of 10
Songwriting: 3 out of 10
Summary: 3 chalices of 10
Originally written for www.MetalCovenant.com
To be honest, I usually don't give too much of a shit about so-called slam death metal, 'cause I find it repetitive and boring. And concerning Devourment, I always have felt quite the same ever since their their first full-length, although their first demo was like a blow of fresh air into the underground scene worldwide back in 1997. But they quickly turned out to be as repetitive and boring as any other slam death metal band. In 2007 I saw them live in Madrid, supporting Suffocation, and I kinda tried to forgot them. In 2009, I gave them another chance with their fourth full-length "Unleash the Carnivore", but I was incapable to listen to the whole CD in a single listening.
Finally, here it is Mike Majewski's horde best effort to date, and the most shocking thing about this it's there's no slamming sections at all!! Sure they still play fast, with some blastbeats here and there, but they got rid of all that slamming nonsense, which is actually so cool. Drummer Erik Park does a more varied job, playing some fast patterns combined with faster blast-beats and slower groovy sections, as in the opener "Legalize Homicide", or the title track. He also uses a wide variety of crashes and cymbals, as most of DM drummers do nowadays.
Rubén Rojas plays some fast guitar riffs, catchier than those of previous releases. I think this is maybe due to the slowering of their style, causing them to be, so to say, more listenable than ever before since one can really hear what's going on in each one of the songs. They don't make an impenetrable wall of noise anymore, they play now a very enjoyable style of brutal death metal, although their old fans maybe will not accept it willingly, given they lost their "slammity" in transit.
Bass guitar seems almost hidden, it's cleary audible in little moments. As usual in death metal, bassist Chris Andrews plays with pick, so it's as powerful as your average death metal bass player, not awesome, but correctly played. He keeps up with the band, giving it its final thick sound.
Mike Majewski's voice sounds brutal and harsh, even more than before. Nice performance for a vocalist I found sometimes monotonous and boring. As always, lyrics are completely gore-soaked, violent and sick; they tell us about killing, raping, fucking dead bodies, and all these delightful things.
As I stated before, maybe die-hard fans of old Devourment may not like this, but it's again a fresh new blow of wind into the underground scene worldwide, just like they were 16 years ago, back in 1997.
This is my very first review so I hope all goes well. I'm not a writer, but I certainly would like to improve my writing skills. Ok, now let's begin. The things I judge most on an album are if the album has original material, riffs, solos, etc., yet is memorable with something that pulls the listener in and makes him/her want more, or has the listener wanting to repeat listening to the album and would want to listen to the album in the next 5, 10, or even 20 years. So now I would like to start my review with this brutal death metal band Devourment and their new album, Conceived in Sewage.
Well, let's begin with the production. The guitar production is pretty damn solid, sounding brutal and has that edgy tone you would expect of any album of the brutal death metal genre. The tone is well-suited for this style of playing. Now for the drums. The drum playing is typical and the drum production is ok. It's loud enough where it stands out from the other instruments, but I think it could be produced a little louder and have a tighter sounding snare. They also went overboard with the cymbal work. How about the bass guitar? Forget it! You can barely hear the bassist, something that is typical in the new death metal scene, which is what makes me always prefer old school death metal over this new age brutal death metal. The vocals are different from the other albums Devourment has done. It's not as guttural as the Butcher the Weak album, but I do, however, think that it's a good thing when bands like this change the vocal patterns a little. All in all, it's pretty solid.
The reason why this rating is low is simple. It's not an album that makes you think "holy shit! This is out of this world!". The riffs are reused and recycled and the whole album's riffs are just everywhere at once. One second it's a low chugging riff and the song instantly changes to a high-pitched "wheeew" sorta riff. It's like that in every single song. In fact, I could not tell one song apart from the other because it is all blended into one song. Not one thing stood out. I feel as though a lot of bands these days forget about good songwriting where they get a good riff going and never go back to that riff. It just goes on and on and on and never comes back to the good riff. I'll get into those kinds of bands another time because the thing is this band's new album is just recycled riffs with some solos and some high-pitched notes at the end. It blends into each song. This may as well be just one 36 minute song. Good thing it is 36 minutes because if this album were to drag on longer I would have to give it a lower score.
To wrap this up, the production is solid, but the music is repetitive and boring. I would not buy this album or any album like it. I think when it comes to this band, once you have Butcher the Weak, that's all you really need.
Thanks for reading!
The year was 1998 and I was riding around with a friend in his truck. He had just returned from a festival in Dallas called Grindfest and had picked up a demo tape at the show. The cassette was only three songs long, so our ears were bludgeoned by it repeatedly throughout the day as we drove. The vocals puked forth from the speakers were some of the most over-the-top stuff I had heard at that point. Sure, I listened to Suffocation, Cryptopsy, and Viral Load, among others, but this was somehow extra-brutal. The cassette, titled Impaled, was my first time to hear Devourment, and I'll never forget it.
I continued to buy each Devourment release over the following years. While I enjoyed them all, I always felt like something was missing. The sound was just a little too one dimensional. Nevertheless, much to my surprise, the band gradually became internationally popular and one of the leaders of the so-called "slam" genre (I hesitate to use the word "slam", but that's what the kids are calling it these days, isn't it?).
Fast forward to 2013 and Devourment is releasing the Erik Rutan-produced Conceived in Sewage through Relapse Records. The classic Devourment sound that has won over fans worldwide and has inspired hordes of copycat bands is all but gone on Conceived in Sewage. This album is sure to be divisive for the Devourment fan base.
The certain "something" that I always felt was missing from the Devourment sound has finally entered the mix on Conceived in Sewage. The band is no longer a one dimensional slam machine. In fact, this album isn't even recognizable as "Devourment". However, even though I like the band's older material, this change in style is actually a good thing. Overall, the songs are way more memorable and distinctive. Influences ranging from classic old school to early brutal death metal bands are now mixed in with Devourment's "slamming" sound. The album may lack some of the intensity of Devourment's older works, but Conceived in Sewage more than makes up for it through its variety and strong songs.
In order to achieve these changes, each member of Devourment has really stepped up and shown what he is capable of within the band. The guitars no longer rely so heavily on simple palm-muted chugging. Dissonance and cool chord voicings are thrown into the mix liberally and give the songs added variety. Occasionally, dark riffs similar to those used by Cannibal Corpse make appearances, and there's even a moment in "Carved in Ecstasy" that brings Obituary to mind. There are still plenty of big dumb grooves that fans want from Devourment, but these new touches help offset the simple parts and keep things interesting.
The vocals are also much more varied than in the past. Majewski is still guttural, but he has added more styles to his repertoire. The gutturals have an awesome texture and can even be understood easily in certain places. "Legalize Homicide", "Today We Die", "Tomorrow We Kill", and "Parasitic Eruption" all have vocal parts that are so catchy one wants to "sing along". That's not really something one could say too often about this band. Another one of the best aspects of the album is the insane drumming. It's not necessarily the most mind-blowing playing, but it's very tasteful and adds just the right amount of extra awesomeness to songs like "Heaving Acid", "Parasitic Eruption", and the title track. Unfortunately, the bass doesn't stand out too much other than some ear-punching notes in "Heaving Acid". For the most part, it serves its purpose by laying down a thick bottom end, but generally goes by unnoticed.
While Devourment is certainly not going to be mistaken for a technical band, the utilization of variety and the unleashing of individual talent on Conceived in Sewage has made Devourment a band that I can listen to at any time and not only when I am in the mood for something caveman-ish. This feels like the release that Devourment has been working toward for years. Some old fans are going to be hugely disappointed; there's sure to be some backlash. The move to Relapse and the Rutan production may seem like a sellout of sorts to some ultra-underground types, but those people should really give the album a chance to grow on them. Devourment has gambled big on Conceived in Sewage and it has certainly paid off.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com
The American brutal death metal band, Devourment, began their career in the year of 1995. Following that they released three demos until they landed their debut album “Molesting the Decapitated” in the year of 1999. The album was well received, but the band was put to rest in year 2002 when contemporary lead singer (and now current guitarist) Ruben Rojas was incarcerated. The band reformed in the year of 2005 where Ruben Rojas then began playing guitar and contemporary bassist and Mike Majewski, took the vocal duties. Since 2005 they have released three DVDs, three split albums, two full-length albums, and this is their now third one, “Conceived in Sewage”, since their reformation.
This album brings you brutal death metal as we know it from,,for instance, the pioneers, Cannibal Corpse, from the brutal vocals, blast beats, and the occasional bass lines as well as the chainsaw-like riffing. Compared to the phenomenal debut, “Molesting the Decapitated”, “Conceived in Sewage” has a perhaps softer approach and more death metal-like sound instead of the even heavier guitar and even deeper vocals that “Molesting the Decapitated” presents. It should be pointed out that Devourment do not completely turn away from brutal death metal on this album.
The songs on “Molesting the Decapitated” are generally longer than on “Conceived in Sewage”. You can’t escape the fact that the album cover on this release is by far more awesome than on the debut, but the band has a bit different approach now and they may have lost a bit of their breath. Mike Majewskis' vocals ranges deep, but not as deep as Ruben Rojas’ did. It varies a bit between deeper growls and the more usual type of growling, perhaps to give the album a bit of variation, but it is usually the same stuff you hear on this album except the small instrumental “March to Megiddo”, which has alarm and marching sounds blended with guitar riffing and drumming, but this is far from anything unique and is rather a prelude to some more of what we’ve heard on the album so far.
The lyrics of this album are not very different compared to many other death metal bands. It’s mostly about sex, death, weapons, and murder and there is not much different here if you are willing to dig down into the lyrics in this genre. Personally, it is not something that I care too much about since I can barely make out any words of what is being growled.
The general production on this album is good; there are not really any instruments which are unheard except the bass that pass by here and there. It can be heard on the first track, “Legalize Homicide”, but besides that we do not hear much from bassist Chris Andrews. The drums are usually blast beats or different rhythms, but it’s not something spectacular, yet drummer Erik Park does a fine job nonetheless. The guitar has the usual chainsaw sound that you usually experience in this genre.
As a conclusion, I have to say that this album is not really an album I will listen to in the future. There is too little variation and the genre is not totally in my taste. I think that if you dig well enough down the death metal genre you will find some fantastic gems that are much better than this, but if you are a great fan of death metal, I think you can find some decent material on this album.
The masters of slam are back to give a quick lesson in brutality to the youngsters popping up left, right and center in this overpopulated scene. Devourment have returned with their 33 minute long fourth album "Conceived in Sewage" and it is utterly punishing. While many "fans" were quick to cry "sellouts" over the "new" sound this band has developed, but I only hear very small differences such as the guitar tone and Mike's vocals being slightly different from "Unleash the Carnivore". The reality is, Devourment haven't actually changed very much at all, and that is almost certainly a good thing. Dripping with heavy grooves, technical drumming and disgusting vocals from start to finish, this is a very worthy addition to Devourment's already very impressive discography.
From the beginning of "Legalize Homicide" to the very end of "Parasitic Eruption" this album is non-stop slamming excellence. The guitar tone is savage and powerful, a lot of Ruben's riffs are very catchy and memorable and it should come as absolutely no surprise that Devourment have brought their crushing slams in abundance, most notably in tracks like "Fifty Ton War Machine" and the admittedly stupidly titled "Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill". Chris Andrews' bass mostly just follows the guitars.
Eric Park again shows us why he is one of the best drummers in extreme metal today, and while he doesn't resort to gravity blasts and double bass here as much as he has in the past, he still performs a solid range of technical fills and patterns that compliment the guitar work.
Mike Majewski's vocals also sound a little different to how they've been on previous releases but that's not to say they aren't enjoyable. He's certainly improved on the pronunciation side of things, with his lyrics being much more understandable on this album than others (which certainly makes for more memorable moments). In addition, we're treated to another fabulous guttural duet from Majewski and Travis Ryan on "Fucked With Rats", because the one from Cattle Decapitation's last album "Monolith of Inhumanity" just wasn't enough.
One more thing that stands out on this album is the instrumental "March to Megiddo" which is basically 1 minute and 20 seconds of military drums over an air raid siren. I have no idea why it's there but it's not as bad as some interludes i've heard on slam albums, so i'll not dwell on it further.
If you happened to be one of the naysayers leading up to this album's release, I urge you to at least give it a few listens, as it is certainly and obviously an opinion divider, but also quite a grower. It does to take a few listens to properly get into Devourment's changes even if they are extremely minor. This is a solid follow-up to Unleash the Carnivore, hell, it's better than Unleash the Carnivore. Devourment have definitely still got it and they have put out what is sure to be one of the better extreme metal albums of 2013.
Highlights: Legalize Homicide, Fifty Ton War Machine, Fucked With Rats, Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill
Devourment are getting older, and that's saying something. Marching amongst the likes of their peers that structured this sound; Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide along with others, Devourment stood out the most when they broke out in the '90s with their biggest trademark: slams. Low-toned, crushing, heavy strummed guitar licks that Devourment mastered the art of and even eventually pioneered the faux subgenre known as "slam death metal" from it. The band from years on would use this technique, but would these death metal Southerner boys eventually reign in the forgotten tomb of a trend they created or eventually rise up with the younger crowd releasing a fresh new-sounding record years later?
Conceived in Sewage some ways breaks that very wall, and in other ways not, and I'll explain why. The record is very fresh sounding. The production is great; it's crunchy, thick and doesn't sound anything like their poorly produced previous record Unleash the Carnivore, which was pretty much a flop all because of its terrible mix job. The record starts out with the slow track "Legalize Homicide", which is bombarded with snare smacks and slams and while it's great at its intro, not a bright choice to open this album up with. However, things get really good once "Fifty Ton War Machine", starts. This track and all others churn the listener with a a savage brigade of blast beats, gurgled vocals and of course SLAMS. The production on the record is praisable, adhering their move to Relapse Records as a smart decision. The guitars and bass sound great layered amongst each other and don't once sound like they're fighting over dominance from one over the other. The guitar lines neatly stack just a hair over the bass.
The drums on this release are recorded greatly, without even the use of triggers. Some of Erik Park's best playing lie in songs such as "Today We Die, Tomorrow We Kill" and "Parasitic Eruption". While the snare sounds almost exactly the same as every other Devourment album ever put out, I don't mind it. It sounds great by my ears and leaves it out of the rest of the Suffocation clone pack. Finally, the vocals are one of the biggest things to take notice of in this band and now I'll speak of them here. The vocals are gurgling, bloodsoaked growls that finish off the whole Devourment package. I can't get enough of Mike Majewski's voice. He sounds great here and even adds in a new mid-range growl on the record; a new addition to the Devourment pile of tricks which even make the lyrics intelligible at most times.
The lowlights of this record, however, I believe lie in its lack of variety and adventure and its short feel. The album feels short, I'll just be honest there, I think it's mainly because the songs feel slower than they should be at times and as a result, the 30 minute runtime kills up quickly as I would be drowning in hearing these tracks for the fifth or so time. Either that or the band's slams are just so fun by my ears, it runs up fast. I don't know what it is.
Now, on for the guest vocal position by Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, while he doesn't do as much for the music as I thought he would, he fits in great in the background. Ryan's voice is incredible in the death metal genre. His snarles are a part of my childhood ambitions to become a vocalist and he possesses a range not even Devourment's vocalist can withtake. While I believe, he could have made a much better and bigger appearence here, I think it's mostly just the fact that he's there is what makes me a bit more happy than I would have been. Most of the time, I'm very, very strict on guest vocal spots on albums, I get upset if they're pointless and/or sound too much like the vocalist they already have and here's it's pretty much a half and half of both those good and bads. They could have used Ryan for so much more in this song.
All in all, it's Devourment at their latest outing, growing up as almost above middle aged men and rocking out like a late Cannibal Corpse record, just with their own brand of tricks and surprises. It has a good deal of faults, but enough good to keep any extreme metal fan interested.