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The heaviest album of the 90s...fucking slammified - 95%

DaddyZeus67, May 23rd, 2009

Oh yes Devourment...this band took it from where Internal Bleeding left with Voracious Contempt and thus put the start to a variant of brutal death known as slam death metal. This was also the first slam band I ever heard! Good thing I got to known with the very best of the genre right away instead of the so goddamn generic and unoriginal Waking The Cadaver lol! I don't mind them these days though since I've become a huge slam death fanboy and I can actually take whatever the shit band would spawn from the genre...but that's a different story.

Anyway I got to known with this band around the times I was getting more into death metal music and tried to find more bands in the genre...I had never heard this type of brutal death metal before but the weirdness of Devourment's music was exactly that attracted me so much, as well as their sickening lyrical themes reminding me of Cannibal Corpse's Tomb Of The Mutilated (song titles like "Fucked To Death"... hell yeah the first song I heard from this band). Funny thing that it took me several months to actually realize that this was my very introduction to slam death metal...and what makes it even more ironic is that the first slam band ever would also be the first slam band I came across.

This however is Devourment's ground breaking debut album Molesting The Decapitated. Let's start with the vocals because that's the first thing to get my attention in this band. Ruben Rosas has a very VERY deep guttural vocal style that even Chris Barnes couldn't reach in his best days. There is no high pitch, just the same guttural all over and the vocals conquer about 80% of each song, but that's really all there is needed for it. Most of the time Ruben sounds like a very angry pig was singing here...yet he doesn't even need to inhale ("pig squeals") here and most importantly he NEVER used any vocal effects in Devourment. These growls don't sound pitch shifted or anything which impresses me like hell! This must be the main reason slam vocalists in general don't use vocal effects either. The vocal rhythms go with the slamming riffs and sometimes sound even hip hop derived, take the beginning of the title track for example. There is a damn brutal slam riff playing and on the top of it Ruben sounds like a mixture of madass boar and rapper. It also seems that the second guitarist Kevin Clark and even the producer D. Braxton Henry contribute to the vocals as well. Mostly these "guest" vocals are done as back-ups for Ruben's lead gutturals ("Choking On Bile" at 3:11).

It's impossible to make out any words from this but if you try really hard and have the lyrics in hand you may be able to follow up with what this guy tries to explain here. The only even remotely decipherable part I can remember is in the song "Postmortal Coprophagia" at 2:29 where Ruben growls "Coprophagia!" and also at 4:30 where he goes "haemorrhaging, blood drips on my feet...." but other than that...don't bother to even try. But hey this is what slam death is all about! Deep inhuman gutturals that fit the pounding music perfectly.

Guitars are very downtuned and the riffing stays very consistent through the entire record. There is fast tremolo chord picking that tends to sound like complete mess because of the low tuning and then there is of course the slower palm muted and crushing breakdown riffs, the slams. And god is there lots of those in this record. Loads of slamming breakdowns go one after another in every song, among the occasional fast parts. There is so many slam breakdowns that it may even get to the point of boredom at times and most of the time these breakdowns sound the same anyway. But don't worry, Kevin and Brain weren't dumb enough to ignore that chance so they made at least one massive and very crushing slam for pretty much each song to stand out. Take "Self Disembowelment" for example, starting off fast and then slowing down a bit to the first verse that definitely gets anyone headbang like a maniac. Then suddenly the whole song stops, the drummer does 2 cymbal hits and then the band starts playing one of the sickest slow and heavily crushing slam breakdowns ever! And towards the end it comes again. There is one similar slam part in "Devour The Damned" but the cymbal hits are done differently and the tempo is bit faster.

Even the bass guitar can be heard in this record, especially in "Fucked To Death" and "Devour The Damned" where the guitars go silent in couple sections. And surprisingly the bass guitar isn't even distorted, making the tracks a little clearer to listen to. Although the bass tends to drown under the guitars quite often but at least it's still there. Makes the overall sound heavy as hell.

And for last we have to deal with the spine of the slam, the drum beast Brad Fucking Fincher! This dude really should have never quit playing drums actively in bands (and I'm glad he's uniting with Brain in this new upcoming project that appears to be called Meshiha) because I'm telling you, Brad is one of the craziest brutal death metal drummers I have ever seen! His blast beats and gravity blasts are fast as fuck and he does amazing double bass too. His fills are good though nothing exceptionally amazing...there isn't many tom rolls in this CD...but overall this guy is insane! His drumming also sounds very tight and controlled, it's obvious that this man knows exactly what he's doing and he doesn't need to push his limits at all to reach these amazing speeds. The problem with some drummers trying to sound brutal (Cannibal Corpse, Waking the Cadaver etc.) is that they're just trying to sound as fast and noisy as ever and they have to go to the very limits of their skills to achieve that. Not only do they simply fail at sounding like the most brutal drummer ever but their attempts would always result in an awfully sloppy and forced sound... but with this guy it doesn't feel like that. Not at all.

But the production in this record....seems to me that this band had absolutely NO money or budget at all to properly mix and produce music because the sound quality just sucks. The guitar tone despite being downtuned and heavily distorted is pretty damn weak and that prevents this CD from sounding as brutal and heavy as it could actually be. The weak drum sound doesn't help either...Fincher seems to use lots of finger technique in his blast beats which of course can't sound very powerful and also the snare sound is pretty weak and silent which only makes the situation worse. The bass drums should also be mixed way louder. All together it basically sounds like some kind of a demo that few guys recorded in their garage but it's not so raw that you couldn't still tell it's a studio release. On another note though....this type of low budget production gives this record a particular atmosphere that could never be achieved in a super fancy studio. The music sounds pretty dark actually and the sampling in the very beginning and the very ending of the album help quite a lot too. I suppose it's exactly this low quality production that got Devourment sound like no other and that is why I got into them in the first place.

The songs in general are essentially the same but that's nothing sort of a problem here. At least they aren't doing anything stupid. And if Devourment want to try something new they will simply make another album that sounds different (and by the way that's exactly what they did 6 years after this one came out...sometime soon I'll get around reviewing Butcher The Weak too). This is a perfect introduction to slam death metal and also the whole genre started from here so go get this awesome record as soon as possible! Also be sure to check the later albums from this band...it's fucking Devourment and they can do no wrong.