Devangelic – Ersetu

Band: Devangelic
Title: Ersetu
Label: Willowtip Records
Release Date: 15 May 2020
Country: Italy
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

These are strange times all around the world, but it’s hard to read the news on any day without getting a sense that Italy is having as hard a time as anywhere. So it feels like some small relief to be able to speak of this part of the world and for it not to be about the latest bad news, but for the simple pleasure of listening to some new music. And what’s on the music today? Rome’s DEVANGELIC with their third album due next month “Ersetu”.

The word “relief” could be spectacularly inappropriate for this band, for here we have ourselves some absolutely pummelling Death Metal. Song titles like “Swarm of the Serpents”, “Embalmed in Visceral Fluids” and “Throne of Larvae” might give you a hint that the running thematic thread of this album is anti-religious blasphemy, delivered in the most gruesome terms possible. Clearly there is a deep antagonism from the side of the bands towards the Roman Catholic tradition.

After a slowly building intro (on album opener “Swarm of Serpents”) that suggests the listener is about to get trampled in a blasting Metal wave, an unrelenting drum battery kicks in, to show that yes that’s exactly how it’s going to be. The bludgeoning double bass driven percussive onslaught is a near constant throughout the album. This alongside the occasional slithering guitar solos and deep growled vocals is all very reminiscent of MORBID ANGEL, which is fitting given the occult sensibility. With “Upon The Wrath of Divinities” (offering the oral equivalent of the gods raining down molten lava on our heads); “Eyes of Abzu” and “Embalmed In Visceral Fluids” (what a title!) in particular, another key influence on the music can be heard, namely CANNIBAL CORPSE. It’s not just the gory subject matter, but also some of the buzzing, descending guitar lines, the altogether pounding musical sensibility and vocalist Paulo Chiti, who when not summoning demons from the tombs in the spirit of David Vincent, does a pretty good rendition of George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher with some powerful nerve-shredding screams.

“Subterranean Revelations” in particular sounds like a fusion of both MORBID ANGEL and CANNIBAL CORPSE, with the brief, baleful, careering guitar lines and the Dun-Dun-Dun-Dun chugging rhythms. The track also features a cool shift of pace towards the end with some interesting, echoing guitars adding some welcome dynamics to the bludgeoning assault.

The battering attack of the band is impressive, with the merciless (presumably triggered) double bass pedalling, hammering the listener with wave after wave of bowling ball sized hailstones. Although by the midpoint of the album on “Throne of Larvae” a feeling of repetitiveness starts to creep in, the next track “Vomiting the Infected” (another great title!) showcases more variety in the playing, with slower passages, breakdowns and various shifts that pull the listener back and forth. There’s a really cool descending riff and somehow on this track the band manages to ramp up the malevolence to even greater intensity.

Elsewhere there are some other nice touches, like the faint, wailing background vocals of “Sigils of Fallen Abominations”, but altogether by the end I find myself wishing for a little more variety to the waves of face smashing hammer blows. Nonetheless there is no denying the impressive, visceral force of this music. If you are in the mood for some remorselessly brutal Death Metal infused with anti-religious spirit, this might be just the dose of apocalyptic viciousness you’re after 7/10 Tom Boatman 

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7/10: Victory is Possible!
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