Here’s a seriously under the radar piece of nasty, blackened death that seems to have been widely overlooked since its May release (including by us sadly). Devastate is the debut by Finland’s Decaying and it’s a real work of grim badassery. Available through Hellthrasher Productions, it features a scant six songs of brutal death but its not a short album since four of the tracks are over ten minutes long. That’s right, you get some lengthy, epic death metal tuneage with one song over fourteen minutes in length! That’s longer than “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and brutal and ugly all the way through. Honestly, not many bands can write death metal that remains interesting over so long a period of time. The reason why this album is getting space here is because Decaying can and did just that. Despite the length of the tracks, the writing and energy keeps things engaging until the bitter end.
Apparently a three piece, they have a big, raw, primitive sound that lacks polish but excels in execution and writing. Straddling the line between old school Swedish death and more primitive South American death metal, its a heady mix of filth and power. There are similarities to ancient Sepultura, Entombed and old Death as they grind along. While lead off track “Strangled” has a pretty simplistic, attacking charm, the longer songs like “The Aftermath” engage in all sorts of dynamics and tempo hoping to keep the listener entertained. It’s not anywhere near tech-metal but they do try to write interesting arrangements that retain the maximum level of brutality. For example, check out the catchy black n’ roll segment in “The Aftermath” at 2:12 and the excellent raw, doomy riff at 7:49. In fact, every track is loaded with little sonic nuggets like these that stand out amid the chaos and the pummelry (I really enjoy the trem riffing in “To Decay”). There are a great many excellently blackened riffs splashed across Devastate and more than a little brutality just for brutality’s sake. There isn’t a weak track here and its a fun, blistering listen from start to Finnish (get it?).
The vocals by Matias Nastolin are excellent. He hops between a nasty death gurgle that at times sounds like John Tardy from Obituary but deeper and a harsh, anguished black metal scream. He uses the screams for accents and doesn’t overly rely on them and it proves quite effective. The guitars by Matias and Henri Hirvonen are effective and they craft a lot of great riffs that cross several genres effectively. The production is really solid as well. The raw guitar sound is perfect and the drums sound thick and punchy.
I’m not sure why this didn’t get more attention upon its release but its a really enjoyable slab of death with some interesting musical ideas rattling around inside. Track it down if you like raw death with a nicely blackened edge to it.