Devourment for Relapse Records, January 17, 2019.

Well friends, it’s been nearly eight months since the last Oodles of Brutals, which means we’re long overdue for another deep dive into the world of all things brutal and slamming.  So without further ado…

I think I speak for pretty much everyone when I say that Devourment’s last album, 2013’s Conceived in Sewage, was a major disappointment.  Something about it felt bland compared to their previous work and the earth-shaking slams the band made their name on were largely absent in favor of a more straightforward brutal death metal sound that lacked any distinguishing characteristics.  However, I’m happy to report that the lengthy break between recordings hasn’t been in vain, because the Texans are officially back to kicking ass on Obscene Majesty, their second album for Relapse Records.  The album sees Devourment undergoing a bit of a lineup shift; Ruben Rosas is back on lead vocals, Chris Andrews moves from bass over to guitar with Dave Spencer taking over low end duties and Brad Fincher returns to the drum throne after several years in the wilderness.  The moves within the band plus the infusion of fresh blood seems to have done wonders for Devourment, because they sound unbelievably heavy here, slamming like their lives depend on it and crushing all in their path.

It doesn’t hurt that Obscene Majesty sounds absolutely huge; the album was produced, engineered and mixed by D. Braxton Henry, who’s worked with the band on pretty much everything they’ve ever recorded, with the exception of the aforementioned Conceived in Sewage.  It’s evident that Henry knows the Devourment sound like the back of his hand, because the album sounds like an army of tanks rolling over mountains of charred flesh and shattered bones.  This shit reaches Bolt Thrower-like levels of heaviness and that’s no easy task.

Cliche as it might be to say, Obscene Majesty marks a true return to form for Devourment.  These guys have bounced back in a major way, unleashing what is likely one of if not the best and burliest brutal death metal albums you’re going to hear this year.  They also just might be the heaviest band on the damn planet… at least until Mortician gets off their asses and records a new album.

Up next, we have Spain’s mighty Wormed, who continue with their attempts to tear a hole in the fabric of space on Metaportal, their first new release since 2016’s godly Krighsu.  Clocking in at just a little over sixteen minutes, the band’s goal seems to be to blast through as much brutality as possible in as short an amount of time as possible, and in this they are wildly successful.  But as mind-bendingly heavy as Metaportal is, it just might also be Wormed’s most atmospheric-sounding release.  The spaced-out vibe has always been strong with the band, but here they seem to take things a step further; “Remote Void” features a lengthy passage that has an almost cosmic black metal vibe to it, while “Cryptoubiquity” ends with a chilling ambient soundscape that more than serves to remind that in space, no one can hear you scream.  Wormed then ups the ferocity for “Bionic Relic,” crafting a constellation of brutal riffage that eventually subsides and fades into “E-Xystem://CE,” a track that alternates between haunting, slower-paced passages and pulverizing fits of brutality.  With Metaportal, Wormed provide a brief yet potent reminder that they are brutal death metal’s answer to Voivod, and that ain’t a bad thing to be.

It’s been a minute since I’ve covered Belgian slammers Putrified J; their 2014 EP Hopeless impressed the heck out of me, but unfortunately I still managed to lose track of them.  That’s not a knock on the band, more a testament to the ridiculous volume of quality metal I get dumped on me year in and year out than anything else.  Whatever the case, I’m happy to have caught back up with them for The Deep End of Horror, which might just be their most accomplished release to date. Hervé Dieudonné has taken over guitar duties since we last checked in with this dastardly duo, and much like with Devourment, the injection of fresh blood has resulted in an even meaner and hungrier-sounding Putrified J.  The Deep End of Horror is also significant in that it’s the band’s first release for Comatose Music, and they have stepped up their game accordingly; this is surely the heaviest thing they’ve ever done and the production is on point.  In just over twelve minutes, Putrified J dish out more brutality than most bands can manage in twice that amount of time.

Back in 2011, Baltimore brutalizers Visceral Disgorge came storming out of the gate with Ingesting Putridity, an album that set them on course to be one of the new leading lights in brutal death metal… and then they fell silent.  Hard to believe its been two years shy of a decade since that masterful debut came out, but Visceral Disgorge are finally back from the abyss with Slithering Evisceration, an album that more than makes up for their lack of recorded output.  Indeed, Slithering Evisceration takes the formula Visceral Disgorge established on Ingesting Putridity and improves upon it in every conceivable way, seamlessly blending brutal death metal and slam stylings while making significant strides in both the songwriting and production departments.  Essentially, this album is heavy, brutal, technical and catchy; pretty much everything I want from a slam album and then some. Visceral Disgorge are back in a big way with Slithering Evisceration; let’s hope it isn’t another eight years before we hear from them again.

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