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Gutturality - 97%

Cynical_Misanthropy, July 23rd, 2009

The original slam album and the only one to do it correctly. Devourment's Molesting the Decapitated in 1999 showed the world exactly how 'brutal' death metal can get. Borrowing heavily upon the early material of Suffocation, adding the most guttural vocals, and a tad of perversion is what Devourment took to create the most guttural and sickening album ever. This cd is definitely not for most, the sheer sound will assault those not accustomed to extreme metal, but is also some of the best of what the world of death metal has to offer.

Upon first listen (and I'm sure the same goes for others) the most profound element of the album to me was the vocals. Beastly, insanely deep, guttural vocals. Ruben Rosas is paralleled by none. His vocals are low growls and roars that are so deep that they have their own demented echo. You'll be amazed the entire time at the kinds of sound Ruben makes without a pitch-shifter while rapping along with the beat of the music. Because of the guttural vocals there is almost no enunciation. Unlike Lord Worm’s early completely unintelligible works, Ruben has a little enunciation, almost none, but granted it's some. The lyrics are almost completely indecipherable except for shouts like "I take pride in killing". The vocals completely fit the sound of the cd, and go along with the overall thick sound. If you take the time to read the lyric booklet, which I highly doubt, you’re dropped amongst tales of killing, raping, and self-mutilation. Exactly the type of material you'd expect to read from a band with the name Devourment. You’re better off listening to the sound of Ruben's vocals if you want something interesting. The final track, "Shroud of Encryption", shows just the odd kinds of sounds Ruben can make, especially during the main slam in the middle.

Next we have the frantic and groovy work of Brian Wynn and Kevin Clark’s guitar. On this album is the blueprint for all future slam. Using slow paced riffs derived from Suffocation and other NYDM is what makes these incredibly brutal moments. The slam strays away from the slow paced chugga-chugga of hardcore by having a few more palm-muted chords, focusing on the thick distorted sound of the guitar, and sometimes ending on a pinch-harmonic. But Devourment, is the only band to contrast these slams correctly and with something fresh. Unlike what other slam bands would eventually do, Devourment does not abuse the slam. In-between slams in the songs, furious grind-laden guitar work is thrown in mix, providing the mirror image of the slam. You’ll be thrashing your head about one minute, and then bobbing your head to the thick, extremely down-tuned guitar the next minute.

Brad Fincher provides his incredibly fast blasts and tight fills for this album of TXDM (Texas Death Metal). Using quick double bass and a slow beat on the snare is how Brad plays during the slams. Then to a fill and off to an inhuman blast. Gravity blasts so fast it makes a machine gun sound like it belonged in doom metal. Much like the guitar work, the drums are mixed up and constantly changing so you're not stuck listening to the same thing. In the drums however, lies one of the only faults in this album. Somehow the snare snuck away with a high pitched sound that doesn't fit in with the heavy atmosphere of the cd. In contrast however, because of its distinct sound you are able to easily hear just how fast Brad can blast. Standouts of the percussion work in the album are the blasts on "Choking on Bile" and the entirety of "Self Disembowelment".

The most infused element of the cd is the bass guitar. Not much can be said about it, it’s what makes up most of the thick sound mentioned numerous times in this review. There are a couple parts where it sticks out; the bit in "Fucked to Death" where the guitar and drums pause to let the bass play, immediately comes to mind. Such a shame that the bass has become under-emphasized in brutal death metal. Oh well, better than it sounding like the snare does.

What Devourment has left us with is a landmark album with its place in brutal death metal history. An entire sub-genre within death metal was also established with this legendary release. It’s impossible to choose overall standout tracks as each song is great and has parts that will have you growling along with it. If you're looking for the most guttural recording ever or simply enjoy brutal death metal and have somehow managed to miss this release, then this is a must listen for you.

"I kill motherfuckers everyday!"