Back in the primordial days of this here blog, we attempted something called “AMG’s Unsigned Band Rodeo.” The basic idea was to select a bunch of unsigned bands and give them the collective review treatment to find the most worthy buried gems. It was our humble effort to remind folks that the metal underground is still an important part of the world of metal.
After several years of self-righteous elitism where we largely overlooked unsigned acts, it’s high time we make amends. And so we’re bringing AMGs Unsigned Band Rodeo back from the dustbins of history with a fresh paint job and a butt-load of new reviewers! Every other month we will pluck a band from metallic obscurity, review the holy Bejesus out of them and leave them to the mercy of you, the fickle masses. At year’s end we will crown the best in show and shower them with accolades, cheap beer and day old sushi. Now that you know the score, welcome to the Rodeo, mofos!
For our second November rodeo we present Deavhronun, a blackened death metal act from Southampton, England. Their Disciples of Cain debut is an intriguing concept album about the infamous period in Norwegian black metal history when Mayhem was beset by a suicide and the murder of band members. Meta? Perhaps. But definitely intriguing. Disciples of Cain releases December 1st and is available on the band’s Bandcamp page. To dissect and study this unsigned opus, we turn to Team Sphere Factory. They’re an uncooperative, antisocial bunch, but they try their best. Get out of their way and open the bull gates.
Kronos – Disciples of Cain is the first record I’ve heard that I would call “black n’ roll,” and that’s because I’ve avoided anything with the tag up to this point. While Deavhronun can manage their rock grooves with swagger, their execution of the black metal aesthetic is a bit lopsided; their approach to lo-fi seems to begin and end with startlingly basic synth tones and their performances are generally workmanlike. The rage and misanthropy I want out of black metal is replaced with disaffected narration and awkward keyboards. But when all this does does work, as in “Deathlike Silence,” the band can crank out a respectable song despite their strange sound. 2.5/5.0
Grymm – I hate doing this. Take a look at the band pic accompanying this edition of Unsigned Band Rodeo. England’s Deavhronun are quite young. I respect any up-and-comers who have the tenacity and bravery to submit a promo for us to review here at Angry Metal Guy. But Disciples of Cain, their debut full-length, is predominantly cringe-inducing. An overly romanticized retelling of the craziness surrounding the Norwegian Black Metal Inner Circle in the early Nineties, Disciples of Cain stumbles with goofy lyrics inserting band names just because, horrible sing-alongs (seriously, the “ominous” choir detailing former Mayhem vocalist Per Yngve “Dead” Ohlin’s suicide during “Death of the Black Heart” is both accidentally hysterical and embarrassingly tacky), god-awful keyboard parts everywhere, an iffy production job, and unmemorable songwriting (instrumental “Ingruentem” does literally nothing to boost the album up). I will admit that the keyboard/drum part in closer “Deathlike Silence” was decent, but the rest had me “NOPE!”-ing repeatedly during each listen. Now I feel both sad and dirty. 1.5/5.0
Dr. A.N. Grier – Anyone and everyone that claims to be a fan of the early-’90s Norwegian black metal scene knows the stories. All the murders, conspiracies, and church burnings; all the Burzum and Mayhem. Though these stories have been retold in countless documentaries, Southhampton’s Deavhronun have decided to put them to music. But not in the way one would expect. There isn’t anything “black metal” about Disciples of Cain. The vocals are a weaker Amon Amarth, the drums are so fake it hurts, and the band’s melodic death songwriting drags on far too long. “Death of the Black Heart” (about the suicide of former Mayhem vocalist Dead), “The Coming of the Count,” and the effects-drenched instrumental, “Ingruentem,” are the worst offenders. Of the seven tracks on Disciples of Cain, the only one I enjoy is the crushing, Viking-esque closer, “Deathlike Silence.” That’s it. In the end, there’s nothing convincing here and I can’t tell if this is serious or a joke. 1.5/5.0
El Cuervo – I believe Southampton’s Deavhronun bear the weighty responsibility of representing the first band I’ve reviewed from my native county of Hampshire (that’s the ORIGINAL Hampshire for you New Hampshire plebs)1. Never one to shy away from shameless self-aggrandizement, I was eager to review Disciples of Cain to demonstrate that us Hampshire folk are definitely more talented than anyone else. For my money, it’s a good album; a riffy and sharp approach to black metal which shifts gears frequently and is dynamic enough to stave off any repetition or fatigue which sometimes hurts the genre. The ‘atmospheric’ elements permeating “Mayhem Rising” and “Ingruentem” and the overall concept tracking Mayhem and Euronymous are a bit silly but the other keyboard parts are just about mature enough to not be distracting. You could do significantly worse for low-budget extreme metal. 3.0/5.0
Ferrous Beuller – Black metal can often command an intensely personal zealotry in its followers — England’s Deavhronun know such blackened beguilement well, and it shows, meticulously carved into the alabaster flesh of debut, Disciples of Cain. Unfortunate then, that their knife-work lacks all and any trace of unique signature. While the record conceptually follows the history of the legendary Mayhem, Deavhronun have managed, in a bout of extraordinary irony, to extol that band’s progenitorial prowess with their own somnambulant stylings. Disciples of Cain‘s content is simply dull, content to espouse the genre’s traditional structure as stringently as possible, often reducing their brief instances of creativity to regrettably fleeting flourishes. Deavhronun are, doubtless, a more than capable act, but crucially, one who would do well to vanish such second hand funeral fog so as to bay at a freezing moon of their own raising. 2.0/5.0
GardensTale – Deavhronun have a weird name and a weird sound. Fundamentally, the odd death ‘n roll with a side of black metal combo could have worked quite well. Smashing Kvelertak into an extra lo-fi Wolverine Blues does produce a few tasty riffs, particularly on the opening and closing tracks, the latter carrying shades of a blackened Amon Amarth. I don’t even mind the gritty, not-quite-second-wave recording quality. But the vocals are all over the place and far too high in the mix. The different instruments sound disjointed, like they were recorded across three seasons and four continents. The frequent sound effects, unrequested keyboards and spoken word sections do nothing but add a few more albatrosses to the band’s necks. Without a more solid base, Disciples of Cain falls flat. 1.5/5.0
Eldritch Elitist – Disciples of Cain is a concept album about the rise of black metal’s second wave that, lyrically speaking, treats its subject matter with all the dramatic grandeur of a Greek tragedy. It’s perhaps fitting, then, that Deavhronun displays a seemingly religious level of devotion to the god ov traditional black metal riffage – just without any of the icy bite or lasting impact that defined the classics. The tracks are utterly forgettable, death-tinged black n’ roll riff salads, with two impressively ambitious exceptions (“Death of the Black Heart,” “Deathlike Silence”) that hint at a stronger, more complex direction. Even so, these two tracks can’t drag the album into recommendable status, and the cringey spoken word track (“Wild Paths”) doesn’t help matters. There’s potential here for sure, but Deavhronun‘s future depends on its ability to make a more consistently good record. Ditching the drum machine wouldn’t hurt, either. 2.0/5.0