Album Review: Devotion - The Harrowing
Reviewed by Richard Oliver
The resurgence of old school death metal is most definitely in full swing with the discovery of more and more bands harking back to that classic death metal sound of the early 90’s. The latest discovery is Devotion who are a five piece hailing from Valencia in Spain. Spain is not the first place you think of when it comes to death metal although it does have an established scene and some decent old school bands such as Unbounded Terror and Avulsed. Although Devotion are a younger band having formed back in 2013 they very much channel and pay homage to the death metal of old with their second album The Harrowing.
Whilst death metal is mostly known for its crippling speed and aggression Devotion hark back to the death metal of old where atmosphere was as important as aggression and slower doomier sections were as much a part of the death metal sound as speed and blast beats. There is clear influence from bands such as Asphyx, Incantation and Autopsy in these slow doom-laden sections which are as heavy and intense as when the bands let rip a maelstrom of bludgeoning fury. The atmosphere in these songs is amplified by the inclusion of keyboards which whilst very much remaining a background instrument accentuate the dark atmosphere of this music and to great effect in songs such as God Forlorn, Valley Of Death, Feast Of Esdras and the crushing closing epic Virtue Besmirched.
The Harrowing is a decent album of death metal from Devotion. It is a bit overlong with a duration of nearly 50 minutes and not much variation in the songs. There is definitely some filler material that could have been trimmed and there are four songs which are nothing more than dark ambient interludes between songs and end up being rather pointless and redundant. When this album hits its stride it is very good death metal indeed but this is definitely an album that could have been a bit leaner, meaner and more effective