Sound: On the surface The Devastated appear to be yet another run of the mill deathcore band and to a degree this is true; low tuned guitars, chugging riffs and double bass beats are not scarce on the quartets dÃ©but full length. However there are certain aspects that may lead the "modern metal" fan to pay attention to this band.
The band (that includes ex-members of the somewhat criticized Christcore band Impending Doom and Southern Rock inspired Deathcore group Oblige) describe their sound as "GROSS. GRIMY. GROOVE." And this is true to some extent. The guitar/bass mix does away with the sterile, excessively gated guitar tones that have become popular in recent years (and seems to have come to an apex on the new Veil Of Maya record) in favour of a slightly rough around the edges approach, which even includes some clank of the bass guitar. Make no mistake however, there is still a lot of production work going on here; the guitars sound thick and chunky and the kick drum still clicks away in it's own space. It sounds just as the style should: heavy.
So what of the groove? There are certain tracks that showcase the bands groove perfectly, including (but not limited to) "Drip.Drip.", "Pseudo Smile Campaign" and the eponymous "Devil's Messenger"; these tracks include riffs which you can't help but nod your head or tap your foot to. However for every groovetastic riff you are treated to five riffs that chug their way into mediocrity, riffs that almost any band could of written.
It seems a shame as there really are some great moments on this album, which seem almost experimental considering how formulaic the genre has become. The doppler train sound at the beginning of "Devil's Messenger" which is then mimicked by the guitars and the fade out at the end of "Swallowing Tumors", which leads directly in the ambient intro of "Failure To Thrive" being two great examples of the originality this band does on occasion show. However these moments are drowned by the mediocre riffing that has really effected the albums quality and lasting appeal. // 7
Lyrics and Singing: Ex-Oblige singer Greg Wilburn takes vocal duty in The Devastated. As seems common with Deathcore, his vocals are extremely competent, but little above that, lacking anything that really singles him out amongst more recognisable vocalists such as (at least in this reviewers opinion) Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe or Heaven Shall Burn's Marcus Bischoff.
Mainly focusing on a more upper register style Wilburn's vocals take on a sneering quality which fits with there more "swagger" focused musical backing. The actual lyrics them selves are somewhat incomprehensible yet seem to follow the age-tested themes of anger, spite and violence. Sometimes even taking a more "Tough Guy Hardcore" approach as seen in the song "Zombies"; complete with Blegh!'s and gang chants. // 6
Impression: This in an album that I really wanted to love, the idea was a solid. Take deathcore and add more of the groove elements found in bands such as groove metal titans Pantera. However while the idea was solid the actualisation of this concept was not fully achieved with The Devastated's "Devil's Messenger". There is an awful lot of potential on this record and it may still appeal to many. If you can get past the some what generic aspects that are scattered on this album then this could be an album that you really enjoy, but it will not be for everyone. If you feel that groove orientated Deathcore is something that would appeal to you then The Devastated are worth your time. Though if the idea fills you with disgust and rage then The Devastated are not going to change your mind.
To conclude, The Devastated's "Devil's Messenger" is an average album with some great stand out moments which sadly don't quite do enough to make the album great over all. // 7