Devoid of Thought – Outer World Graves Review

Do you remember when Blood Incantation was the poster-boy of radical and boundary-pushing death metal? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Since then, however, it’s become cool to hate on the hype, and your favorite ancient alien-loving Denverites have become the flavor of “ugh, those pretentious bastards?” in spite of Hidden History of the Human Race earning a roaring 4.0 from the illustrious L. Saunders1 and earning acclaim from across the metalverse. Their use of OSDM with cosmic themes and enough psychedelic flourishes to get you to start smelling space colors was ambitious and thoughtful, and I believe, undeserving of the hate. I hope you like Blood Incantation, because Devoid of Thought does.

Devoid of Thought is an Italian death metal quartet, risen from the ashes of thrash group Warstorm, having released a slew of demos and splits, to release their first full-length Outer World Graves. You can expect the usual death metal shenanigans: chunky thick riffs, earth-shattering roars, manic percussion, and technical flourishes of melody and dissonance to keep things interesting. And notwithstanding the Blood Incantation similarity, interesting it is. Devoid of Thought manages to create a solid death metal bruiser with plenty of atmosphere and crunch with plenty of highlights to boot, even if they need to embark on their own space exploration.

The aesthetic of Obscura’s tech-death has always maintained a sleek and industrial edge that promises a mechanized future, while the OSDM cavemen are content hunkering down in their caverns with primitive savagery and a myriad of “ooga boogas.” What makes the tech-OSDM fusion intriguing in acts like Artificial Brain, Mithras, or Blood Incantation is the entire universe it opened up, from the gleaming beacons of man’s exploration to the uninhabitable barren expanses that greet his eyes. Accomplishing this balance with beautifully stark duality, Devoid of Thought offers weighty riffs with swarming technical flourishes. Tracks “Perennial Dream” and “Sidereal Necrosis” are nearly guaranteed to stick in your head, the repeating and arrhythmic leads are downright infectious without compromising the overwhelmingly alien atmosphere, while kickass riffs keep the momentum going. “Four Cereulean Ways” is also of special mention, as its songwriting takes center stage in the gentle ebb and flow: harmonic leads and spiraling dissonant insanity make appearances alongside menacing chugs in a wild journey through crooked asteroid belts bathed in the solar glow.

Devoid of Thought’s main two issues relate to extended songwriting and mimicry. “Effigies of a Distant Planet” is intended to be the eleven-minute centerpiece of Outer World Graves but it lacks the songwriting chops to pull off such longevity – while its previous two tracks found the sweet spot in terms of length and repetition, there’s simply too much going on and too many clashing melodic foundations to make its riffs worthwhile. Closer “Stargrave” falls into a similar rut, and while its melody and atmosphere make sporadic passages intriguing, much of its nearly nine-minute runtime is dominated by galloping riffs that lose impact after too many iterations. While Devoid of Thought is a young band in the process of coming into its own, it hardly strays from the path of other like-minded greats like the aforementioned Blood Incantation, Mithras, or Artificial Brain. Even in comparison to recent cosmic death metal offerings from Everlasting Spew labelmates like Hideous Divinity, Fractal Generator, or Demiurgon, Outer World Graves falls into rather derivative territory.

Devoid of Thought plays their debut full-length very close to the vest, and Outer World Graves ends up hinting at more potential than it capitalizes upon. The cosmic death metal theme is nothing new, but these Italians accomplish it with professionalism and grace. The songwriting needs tightening, as “Effigies” and “Stargrave” are tragically limp compared to their surroundings, but the more pressing issue is finding a unique identity. Outer World Graves showcases that they do respect Blood Incantation and can mimic them to a respectable degree, but Devoid of Thought is capable of conquering its own worlds and needs to take that one small step for man.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Everlasting Spew | Me Saco Un Ojo Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: August 27th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. “Ugh, that pretentious bastard?”
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