Deviser – Evil Summons Evil Review

I’ll level with you; this is the first time I’ve heard of Greece’s Deviser, even though they’ve been on the scene since 1989. Part of that is likely due to the countless comparisons between Deviser and fellow countrymen, Rotting Christ. Being on the scene simultaneously and playing a similar meloblack/symphonic metal style surely didn’t help them rise to the top. To these ears, I can certainly hear similarities between the two bands, but Deviser is unique (enough) in their own right. For instance, while others hear Sakis Tolis in Matt Hnaras’ vocals, I do not. Hnaras uses a more traditional Norwegian black metal rasp than Tolis, adding a signature voice to Deviser’s music. The atmospheres and symphonic elements are similar in approach and sound to their Greek brethren—though, I often hear more of an older Old Man’s Child approach to these passages. Another reason you might not have heard of Deviser is they disbanded after their unremarkable 2011 release, Seasons of Darkness. Now they’re back with a wengeance. Here to prove to you their relevance.

After exploring the band’s catalog, I’m rather impressed with their ’90s classics, Unspeakable Cults and Transmission to Chaos. Their mid-paced approach to songwriting and clever use of keys and atmospheres have me returning to Transmission to Chaos a lot. Again, while there are similarities to Rotting Christ in the songwriting (specifically the pace of the songs), Deviser was able to carve a place for themselves in the genre. But, as we’ve seen with so many bands in this class, the need to up their game in the symphonic side took hold. The result was two albums that under-delivered and left me cold inside. With Evil Summons Evil, the tries to recapture the days of yore while utilizing today’s modern production and punch. It’s clear that, in their eyes, the songwriting isn’t broken, and with the right balance of riff to atmosphere, they can return to a throne that’s been vacant since 1998.

What Evil Summons Evil provides is ten mid-paced tracks that combine one or two elements of their sound, or all at once. The latter scenario takes place in the bookends of the album. “Death Is Life Eternal” gets things rolling with a gentle introduction that transforms into a vicious black metal riff and sing-along lyrics. It traverses a few hills and gullies before becoming wholly engulfed in lush atmospherics. Closer “When the Light Went Out” takes all the moments of the opener and intensifies them. The guitars swirl around before settling into a satisfying mix of massive vocals and melodic beauty. The layers continue to add on as the song approaches its conclusion—finally concluding with gorgeous acoustic guitars.

Between these tracks are a collection of songs that toy with stomping marches and emotional atmospheres. Two standouts are the similarly prescribed “Cold Comes the Night” and “Evoking the Moon Goddess.” The first is a Rotting Christ love affair that falls away one moment to reset its blackened charge with symphonic overtones. Then, it completely shifts into a somber collection of strings, guitar leads, and subtle chugs. “Evoking the Moon Goddess” has similar emotional prowess but is far more significant in delivery. Unlike “Cold Comes the Night,” this ditty navigates between pounding marches and classic black metal tremolos. Yet, even between the jarring attacks, it successfully creates powerful builds that close out the song on a high note.

Sadly, when writing song structures like these, each track needs to deliver. Perhaps the need for that predictable, inevitable climax when incorporating symphonic builds around meloblack music makes this true. Unfortunately, in a song like “Where Angels Fear to Tread,” the verses and irritating vocal approach stalls out the song. It recovers into a memorable concluding riff, but I get impatient waiting for it. But “Serpent God” goes nowhere. I enjoy the Satanic undertones and the use of sound clips, but the song is a filler piece compared to the others.

In the end, Evil Summons Evil is a solid comeback release for the band. It shows potential for achieving the sound the band had in the old days. While it’s not perfect, the drive is back in the band, and they feel like a hungry, young outfit trying to make a name for themselves. Of course, Deviser doesn’t need to make a name for itself or apologize to anyone with all the blocks they’ve been around. But there’s a fire in their hearts, and they have one more metalhead rooting for them.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kb/s mp3
Label: Hammerheart Records
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: February 10th, 2023

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