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Devastate under whatever joke goes here - 77%

Noktorn, September 6th, 2008

Infernal Revulsion is a slam darling in some circles, and I enjoy them but have never been able to get into the INFERNAL REVULSION ZONE that a lot of my friends seem to occupy. It's cool slam death, but I don't find it nearly as remarkable as others seem to when compared to bands such as Devourment or even countrymate slam artists like Infected Malignity. Infernal Revulsion has a good base for their music but does just enough annoying stuff to make them not quite make it into my black circle of slam. For those who love brutal death metal, though, I can still recommend it with only a few reservations.

One of the major things that just annoys the fuck out of me is the production, specifically the drums, where 95% of the time the only audible portion is the constant, fairly sloppy double bass. It's only when the guitars stop churning away that you can really hear anything else. The whole production is pretty ridiculously low end; there's like twenty seconds total on the album where anything even remotely approaches the treble range, making it immensely surprising when it actually happens. The guitar tone is nice and fits the riffs, and the vocals are well produced (if a tad loud), but the drums really mar the overall sound of the release.

That aside, the music is mostly very good. 'Deep Down Human Being' is by far the best track on the album and has clearly had three times the effort put into its writing, and it shows in how elegantly it flows. The seams of the song structures are more obvious on the other tracks; riffs sort of abruptly shift into one another and songs just end instead of reaching a satisfactory conclusion a lot of the time. And what's with the constant 'Full Metal Jacket' samples? They don't add any atmosphere really and just serve to break up the flow of the album. Ignoring those squabbles, the riffcraft is certainly a cut above most slam, as this is one of the few slam artists with guitarists capable of writing memorable tremolo riffs along with breakdowns. It almost reminds me of Amputated Genitals in that regard, with the speedier parts taking equal importance with the slam riffs.

The songs are generally a pleasing listen; they're heavy, not especially repetitive, and stay exciting and engaging for the listener. Periodically, though, the band makes a bizarre songwriting decision that doesn't make sense to anyone but them. What's with the second half of 'Chain Of Blunder' with its weird, protracted slow section, or 'Seventh Curse' with its strange array of inconclusive tremolo riffs just before the halfway mark? I realize the Japanese are insane and all but I thought they knew that songs should have a more natural flow than that. Surprisingly enough, one of the strange facets of this album is that the actual slam riffs often seem underwhelming compared to the stronger mid-fast chugging sections; it's not a huge deal, but pure slam fans will likely be perplexed at some of the movements on this release.

'Devastate Under Hallucination' is a good album with a lot to recommend for it, but I can't say I'm as entranced by it as many others seem to be. It's certainly an interesting listen that does some creative things within the paradigm of slam death, but it sacrifices a bit of listenability in its attempt at uniqueness. I do recommend this to brutal death metal fans as it likely won't disappoint, but I can't say that Infernal Revulsion are the new reigning kings of slam. They're a strong part of the second tier, though, and worth the time of the style's listeners.