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Devourment's third album "Unleash The Carnivore" seems to be the forgotten album out of their short but sweet discography. From reading other reviews on this site it is clear that many were disappointed with this album. Some blame the production, some blame the song writing and some just plain do not like brutal death metal. However I disagree with the hate this album has had thrown at it.
"Unleash The Carnivore" is unrelenting monolithic slab of death metal, offering possibly one of the most powerful production sounds within the genre. The drums have a nice clear tone with no part of the kit disappearing under the strain of the other instruments, Mike's vocals are well balanced within the mix, not being too loud or too quiet. Ruben's guitar tone is incredible here, an incredibly thick sound that still allows the listener to distinguish between the notes being played. The only negative of the production is Chris's bass being somewhat buried into the mix, when it does rear its ugly head (in "Fed to the pigs" or "Field Of The Impaled" for example) you can hear it has a dirty distorted tone. This distorted approach to the bass can explain why it is mostly buried into the mix it because merges with Ruben's down tuned and distorted guitar tone. However I do believe you would notice the absence of Chris's playing here.
Onto the music within, this album wastes no time in crushing your skull. From the get-go we are assaulted with Devourment's signature approach to brutal death metal, slow chugging slams, groove laden mid-tempo sections and insanely fast blasting sections. There are standout tracks like "Fed To The Pigs", "Crucify The Impure" "Deflesh The Abducted" and "Unleash The Carnivore". "Fed To The Pigs" has become a fan favourite and you can see why, this song reeks of groove and packs some incredible slams into the mix. Take the intro for example, after a strange drum orientated build up section, everything drops out whilst Mike joins in, unleashing an incredible growl that leads into one of the catchiest moments in brutal death metal history. The other standout tracks follow more or less the same criteria, offering the most memorable material on the cd. There is a reason I will not elaborate in detail about the other tracks that I will discuss later (when I look at the downsides of this cd).
The performances on this album are strong. To start with Eric's drumming, as always he does not disappoint, he combines more traditional brutal death metal blasting with interesting use of the toms and cymbals (see "Fed To the Pigs" or "Over Her Dead Body"). One thing that impressed me in particular was his use of the ride cymbal, Eric often enhances certain beats with an interesting pattern on the ride. This keeps the slams more interesting to listen too (many slam bands often end up using the same drum pattern over and over again on their slams). Another thing impressive about Eric is the sheer speed of his gravity blasting.
Ruben's performance on the strings is solid. Devourment could be seen as a band that focus on rhythm rather than insanely technical or memorable riffs. Whilst this may not be true for some of their earlier works ( My god some of the riffs on "molesting the decapitated" get stuck in your head for weeks..) this album seems to be focused on rhythm over the actual content of the music. Having saying this there are still memorable guitar sections within these tracks, but I believe its intention is to make your head move, not make you look at each riff in depth etc.
As I mentioned before, Chris's bass playing is more or less buried underneath the hugely heavy production sound, so it is hard to analyse his bass playing. However when his bass does appear in the mix you can see he is a very capable bass player. Even if his bass never appeared on its own you would know he is a solid player as he manages to follow Ruben's guitar playing.
Mike's vocal performance has been a subject of criticism when it comes to this release, however I believe his vocals fit the album very well, performing his trademark guttural belch that is almost completely indecipherable. This leads me onto the first criticism of the album, which is that there is little variation in Mike's vocal patterns (some major exceptions to this however), this causes some tracks to sound similar or to drag on slightly. To further explain, any Devourment fan can remember the epic "COP-RO-PHA-GIA" chant in "Post-Mortal Coprophagia" or the "Scream for me, cry for me, bleed for me, die for me" line before one of the greatest slams ever in "Masturbating At The Slab". And on "Unleash The Carnivore" there are not really any sections like this to get embedded into your head. The closest vocal section to these previously mentioned moments is where the vocals join in "Fed To The Pigs", which to be honest one of the reasons I decided to hunt this album down, purely for the pleasure of walking around with this track destroying my ears.
Other than the previous criticism, there is one other flaw with this cd. This flaw applies to nearly EVERY brutal death metal band ever, the fact that songs get repetitive. Many similar band within the genre (be it, Cephalotripsy, Vulvectomy, Epicardiectomy, Guttural Secrete, the list goes on) suffer from this problem, but still release some amazing material, so I do not see repetition as a massive flaw within this genre as the aim of band's like Devourment is too crush you senseless, not necessarily make you think about the aesthetic quality of every note played on the guitars.
Overall the title "Unleash The Carnivore" could not suit this album better, this whole cd sounds like a huge monster pulsating across the earth killing everything and anything that gets in its way. That analogy may make anyone reading this cringe but place this into your Cd player (or illegally download it rather than experiencing the difficulty of finding this cd) and you will soon understand my silly analogy.
Support death metal, buy the albums.
This review is dedicated to my grandmother, that passed away a few hours before I decided to re-listen to this cd and write this review. For just over half an hour "Unleash The Carnivore" ( in a strange way) distracted me from my loss, as it is almost impossible to think your own thoughts when a band like Devourment is pummelling your senses.
Ok there is no denying it, this isn't the most interesting album, but it is heavy as fuck and has moments that make up for the short fall of being repetitive. As overused and cheesy as it is, this album is definitely brutal, in fact undeniably. Possibly the heaviest fucking album I've heard, strangely audible though. I'm not actually quite sure how you can be that heavy, yet still have distinguishable riffs. Oh well it doesn't matter, so long as I feel like I've had my arse kicked after every time I listen to it, I'm happy.
On to instrumentation and vocals. The vocals are just about the same the whole way through, with very little variation. Mike's vocals are much on the same scale as Abominable Putridity's former member Vladimir. Same repetitive as fuck nature, but much, much better. The drumming is what always gets me with this band, I'm not sure if he's even very skilled or not, it doesn't seem to matter because it sounds insane and fits well with the thick-as-fuck-slammy-slam-slam guitar playing. lots of metalheads seem to have an aversion to slam riffs because it sounds skilless. Who the fuck cares! it's the end result that matters, and this result sounds fucking mean and horrifying.
All in all, though this album suffers from a certain sterility not present on the previous albums, it's still a good listen. It doesn't suffer from dragging on, which I could easily see happening with an album like Unleash the Carnivore. I can't wait to hear the upcoming album, hopefully it will be an improvement where repetitiveness is concerned.
Standout tracks - "Crucify the impure", "Fed to the pigs" and "Abomination unseen".
This is skullcrushing album, no two-ways about it. Everything, every aspect of this album seems to be pushing for one thing: To bludgeon, pound and thoroughly decimate everything in its path. Technicality? Fuck technicality, this is Devourment, and they’re here to crush the the listener with unrelenting, ultra-heavy (Yet simplistic) riffs, stupidly low guttural vocals and thunderous blast-beats.
And slams, lots of slams. The slam riffs in this album are outrageously heavy, catchy and some of them are even, well, bouncy. They’re all more or less variations on the same chuggy type of ‘jun jun jun” type sound, but fortunately there’s just enough variation in the slams from song to song to keep them from totally blending into one another. Unfortunately though, they do become somewhat forgettable, because they get lost in this albums main flaw, which is:
The songwriting. Now, on this album Devourment have a formula, one that they use on every song . It goes something like “chuggy, groovy mid-speed riffing with following vocals and drums” “blast-beat section with with speedy, grindy guitar parts following” and then the slow, super chuggy slam riffs with rhythmic vocals and slower, fill-happy drumming to accentuate the thunderous grooves. Now this is not a bad formula, and works well to unleash relentless brutality on the listener, which is obviously the purpose of this album. The problem is that every song is essentially a variation on this formula, and so, to my ears, listening to this album the whole way through turns it into one, long song, so that by the time I’ve finished the playthrough, I can’t remember a single individual song. Just various parts of certain slam sections that were catchy enough to stick in my head. And even after repeated listens I still can’t shake the feeling that each song is more or less a variation on the last, which means that for me, there are actually no standout songs . I can play a random track with perfect confidence that what comes on won’t disappoint me, or I can play the whole thing and not feel the need to skip a single track. Either way I basically get the same experience .
To weigh in a bit more on the album’s pros, I should point out that the production on this release is fantastic. No murky sound on this one, everything is polished and lush. The instruments don’t have very much space to each other, but the whole thing is very tight. The guitar sound is really thick and heavy, drums sound quite good, and the bass, unsurprisingly, is very difficult to make out for the majority of the albums runtime.
A few words should also be thrown out to the drummer, who gives a really beastly performance, great double-bass work, extremely fast blastbeats and loads of cool fills. Just great to listen to.
Now I’d like to give a brief rundown of the vocals, now for some people Mike Majewski is a shit-tier vocalist, usually the people with this opinion are the same ones who say that Devourment should never have reformed, or at least not without Ruben Rosas (The original vocalist) on vocal duties. Ridiculous, I say. If you haven’t heard Devourment before, I’ll quickly explain the difference between the two: Rubens vocals were extremely low, ultra guttural vocals of a hilarious burpy-farty nature, and in the context of "Molesting the Decapitated", were the perfect thing for that release. Mike’s vocals on the other hand are a much more monotone, slightly higher pitched gurgle-grunt-roar, and in my opinion, they go along much better with the bands newer, post-reformation sound, which is much cleaner in nature than the debut. And on this album, thanks to the fine mix, the vocals, despite their lowness don’t get lost in the mix, but rather sit just above the guitars, a perfect perch to assist them with the relentless pounding of the listener .
In summary, this album is all about the brutality, and not much else. Not really surprising I suppose, but it would have been cool if the band had written a few songs that stood out a little from the endless chug-blast to be found here. But that’s not really the point of this kind of music is it? My understanding is that albums like this one always translate better to a live environment, where the fans can happily mosh away to the mindless brutality. But for home use? I’d say it’s great as a workout album, or background music for other physically involving tasks, where you can just nod your head along while you work, but aside from that, the only time I’ll really be putting this one on is when I’m just in the mood for something that’s un-emotionally involving and brutal.
710 rating because it’s really good at what it does, just don’t be looking for anything groundbreaking or “deep”. Basically for slam fans and few others.
May also be useful as rage music, or scaring/pissing off your neighbors.
I'll admit that Devourment's 1999 debut "Molesting the Decapitated" was pretty good, but following it was disappointing and Deeds of Flesh-esque (in other words, boring) album "Butcher the Weak", and was basically the beginning of the end for these guys. Now we have what is basically equivalent to a band like Emmure. Yes, I actually said it. The purpose and of this music has been raped by the simple need to play a few fucking power chords at 2 tempos and in slightly varied patterns. While there was true fire in the band's earlier work, there is none here. Just the ashes.
This album is just a few slams and a few faster, grindier parts here and there. Maybe an intro to a song or two. That's it. You know the whole album now. Shitty production, Mike Majewski's trademark inhales, inaudible bass, and chugging make up the sound of this album. Now you know the makeup and sound. No need to go any further really.
Mike Majewski is the biggest disappointment here. While his vocals on "Butcher the Weak" were no better, they were at least varied there, with the ocassional Frank Mullen-wannabe growl popping up. Not here though, this has even less death metal growls than "Molesting the Decapitated" had! Mike tries absolutly nothing on this album but what he has already done before. If only Ruben was still the singer! Oh wait, Ruben (guitar) does some vocals on this album too!!! Yippee! Don't get excited, his vocals are equally as shitty as Mike's, and how anyone can tell the difference between Ruben and Mike is beyond me. There is also a 3rd singer on this album, the bassist of the band, "Captain Piss". His vocals are death growls (always a plus in my book), and are fairly decent. Once again, however, do not get excited, as he only sings one word repeated 4 times in the song "Incitement to Mass Murder" (stupid name for a song).
So if you're a devoted Devourment fan you'll probably find this satisfying. I like the band, but I just don't understand this. I should have made this a more musically oriented review but in honesty I don't want to have to listen closely enough to tell you everything I could. I'll leave that to the next reviewer.
3 years after the release of Devourment's 2nd issue of "Butcher The Weak", a new killer emerges from a decaying wasteland that is depicted in the cover art of Devourment's 4th full-length album titled Unleash The Carnivore.
The production is fucking heavy as fuck and the musicianship is great, but it's too predictable. None of the songs really stand out from the rest except for "Deflesh The Abducted", "Incitement To Murder", and "Over Her Dead Body" which had an awesome grindcore-inspired onslaught in the intro. By the way, where are those Suffocation/Chest growls that can be heard in Butcher The Weak? Those were one of the things I was looking forward to hearing in this album but I didn't hear shit.
Ruben Rosas's vocals were alright, but overall the vocals were too low to really be able to distinguish who is singing. Range of vocals is also what is lacking in the vocal department and I was thinking there might have been some high-pitched screams that could be heard in Devourment's cover of "Pick Axe Murders" from the US of Goregrind split.
The sample used in Abomination Unseen is fucking creepy, but I honestly think it didn't fit well with the song and would have been better if it were used for Unleash The Carnivore since it would provide a better surprise attack onto the listener with its chaotic frenzy where everyone goes apeshit in the beginning of the song.
Overall, I have to say it's a pretty good album but there's going be a lot of mixed feelings by other fans as a lot of had different expectations for the album. The sound production is clear which adds alot to the intensity during the album's most chaotic parts of the songs. It's definitely worth listening to if you're fan of Devourment or just someone looking for something really brutal.
To start, I am and have been a massive Devourment fan for years. I've followed the band through each release shortly after Molesting the Decapitated.
With that said, this album shocked me....and not in such a great way. I have come to expect some of the most brutal, the most groovy, and all around head smashing riffs from Devourment. I found the groove aspect lacking here. I appreciate progression within a band, I actually expect it from renowned bands such as Devourment. The progression found in this album is almost a step back, in the opposite direction.
Don't get me wrong, this album is quite possibly one of the heaviest sounding albums I've heard in a long time. The tone on the guitars has never sounded so gnarly, the mastering is top notch for the most part, and the drum work..........ohhh the drum work. Eric stepped it up a few levels for this album. More creative, much more precise, and much more well-rounded (drum-wise). They also re-recorded Deflesh The Abducted, and it sounds great!
I guess I had expected the unrelenting groove that 'Fed to the Pigs' and 'Unleash the Carnivores' had offered on the early release of those songs.
Overall, I wound recommend everyone give it a whirl. It may not cater to the expecting Devourment fan, but I guarantee most everyone will enjoy at least a few tracks from UNLEASH THE CARNIVORE.