Sunday, March 15, 2015

Deivos - Theodicy [2015]

Poland has proven over and over again that it simply will not endure a lag in the standards of its death metal. The country has, beyond the universal acceptance of Vader and Behemoth, housed a myriad explosive death metal acts trenchant in some of the most brutal, hammering trends the 21st century has yet to offer, displaying skill, technicality and pulverization on all grinding fours with bands like Lost Soul, Decapitation, Calm Hatchery, and most lately, Deivos, whose 2010 opus ''Gospel of Maggots'' blew me straight out of the water for the phenomenal cultivation of this stylized form of sonic smashing that it was. Naturally I found such a dynamic compendium of brutality as a fresh breath of air from the humdrum of other death metal banalities in the business. Come 2015, though, I was excited for a new wave of shattering guitars, but the result was not exactly what I had in mind...

...that's to say the Poles' latest ''Theodicy'' isn't a far shout from its predecessors, and there I certainly cannot voice any complaints, but it didn't instill me the extent that the sophomore did either. All of a sudden these benefactors of brutality have turned oddly... metallic. They always bore some impregnably systematic sound to their bashing guitars and non-stop drumming, but hell, even the cover art's morphed from a beautiful portrayal of their music with vividly insane color palettes and artistic rapture to some grey and dry dust bowl with skeletal goat horns and an equally uninteresting title font. I'm not one to evaluate art, but that shit looks like they had to borrow an amateur artist the last second or had to design the cover themselves (the latter is more reassuring). Either way,  everything about this record is up for the brutal/technical contingency, except for the dynamics. As always, the riffs are abundant and crushing, a slew of hammering torpedoes and lethal chords and tremolos coming right at the listener's ear drums like riffs taking off the maw of a motherfucking whale. That's how heavy this is. Unfortunately, the Poles can't reconcile the blandness of the texture with 39 minutes of mindless fisting.

''Theodicy'' stores nothing of genuine, hooking worth except perhaps the shock value of the riffs, which admittedly, even at this dry stage, are staggeringly well constructed, proggy but punishing mutes delivered in staccatos, spiked with pinch harmonics here and there. The band somehow tries to flavor their sound with oddly dissatisfying, yet thankfully short experiments which generally create an overriding industrial motif. There are clinks and clicks, odd buzzes, but the listener is completely unaware of their destination and purpose, (so too is the reviewer) and some of these quaint ambient sounds like those at the end of ''Amor Sui'' are decidedly taken from the sound of a train just before leaving. This isn't a train station dammit! It's a fucking death metal record! I am grateful for some individual riffs which grappled my attention, and the vocal delivery of Angelfuck is not bad, if anything, preserving the 'death' in death metal in a record which I felt had run its course by the time I had spun it the third time.

Is Deivos skiving its duty? How come ''Theodicy'' didn't rule like its precursors? The answer may be startlingly anticlimactic, but it's probably no surprise that the Poles ran out of fuel after ''Demiurge of the Void'' and ''Gospel of Maggots'', but that's not to say it's a terrible record, in fact it can still kick some ass on rare occasions(the bass lines on ''Parasite'' stand out rather marvelously), and some serious ass provided you're one to drool all over this musical niche in particular, and it's definitely still undiluted Polish death metal with its roots in the best sort, but I'd rather bang my head to some Vader or Decapitation and immerse myself in a wonderfully sonorous clusterfuck.

El Shaddai

Rating: 57,5%

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