Reviews

Across the Empty Plains

ZwareMetalen.com (2017-10-24)

Het Zweedse Devourer brengt na vier jaar zijn tweede full-length uit, genaamd Across the Empty Plaines. Het duo laat op dit album een onvervalste pot black metal horen, die niet onder doet voor andere grotere namen uit de Zweedse blackmetalscene.

Het eerste nummer Insania begint direct goed, even de instrumenten warm draaien om daarna plankgas te gaan, waarbij er af en toe een adempauze inzit, waarna het nummer weer net zo hard doorgaat. Dit is de trend van het hele albu. Weinig poespas of andere overbodigheden. De tien nummers die Across the Empty Planes rijk is, klinken stuk voor stuk alsof de wereld vergaat. Alle nummers zijn super strak gespeeld, vooral de drums op dit album klinken snaarstrak.  Rauwe black metal met messcherpe riffs en ijzige zang, die precies goed klinken voor de muziek. Dit is in alle songs het geval, het wordt niet een moment saai en klinkt continu briljant. Het nummer Finem Vitae Cura is dan misschien wel mijn favoriet van de plaat, maar eigenlijk is het hele album geweldig.

De heren hebben met Across the Empty Plaines een geweldig album neergezet, niet meer en niet minder. Zoals ik eerder al zei, doet dit niet onder voor grotere en bekendere namen als Marduk of Watain, die net als Devourer Zweden als thuisland hebben. Ik zie hier wel een mooi tourpackage in. Dan is het alleen wat jammer dat de heren nog geen complete line-up hebben.

Rating: 95/100
Originally posted on ZwareMetalen.com

ResidentRockStar.com (2017-10-20)

Cold black metal from Sweden, Devourer’s latest release is entitled “Across the Empty Plains” and it continues his frigid onslaught. The second full-length album from Devourer after a previous one and an EP, this album showcases an evolution in style.

One of the great things about the internet, aside from being able to view funny cat pictures at 3am on the toilet is that it allows bands to independently release music much easier than in the past. Sites like Bandcamp make this process even easier and facilitate the discovery of new music that otherwise would be relegated to the oft-forgotten underground.

Firstly, of note is the album’s artwork which evokes feelings of desolation, showcasing the empty plains the album is named after, ones that are only inhabited by death and desolation. The music reflects this sound and focusing on the vocals, I think that they are very fitting and aid to the atmosphere, creating something that is both memorable and unrelenting. While coarse and abrasive, there is a clarity to them that makes the lyrics legible. Vocally, there is a powerful strain to them, a strong and forceful, yet pained style to the words.

Musically, the album starts off with a brooding feeling, a bit slower before picking up steam. The second song on the album is one of my favorites; “Perdition” is a fast audio attack, slicing like the scythes on the album’s cover. Riffs of ice emanate from this song, cold and immersive, there is a lot of variety present which aids the atmosphere and its structured in such a way to draw the listener in. Towards the end of the song, haunting quiet takes over, and this tempo change is akin to the calm before the storm as the album has only begun.

The eponymous title track is the fourth song on the album and a slower paced one. Normally I am one that prefers faster songs but this slower track is phenomenal and just oozes atmosphere. The vocals shift adds another layer of depth to the already substantive song. The next track is “Deeds of Rancor”, and this one picks the pace up quite a bit. The ferocity of this track adds another level to the depth contained within.

Towards the end of the album, the penultimate song, “A Misanthropic Introspection”, delivers some of the best musicianship of the album’s duration. Starting off with some incredibly powerful and enthralling drumming, the song just sucks you in and does not let go. The cold nature of the release is maintained throughout this song, and it is everything from catchy to barbarous simultaneously.

Ending the album is a slower track, entitled “Omega”, it’s probably one of the heaviest parts of the album, there are slower and more atmospheric parts to it as well but it retains a “heavy” feeling throughout. As the music fades away, a cold wind blows and gives way to the emptiness and desolation that was present at the beginning.

Compounding atmosphere and unrelenting ferocity, Devourer’s latest release is incredibly strong. Compared to his prior EP, this latest release focuses more on black metal, incorporating fewer elements of death metal within it. The first Devourer album, “All Hope Abandon” is a more raw, black metal release compared to this new one. The production has improved for this new release and the atmosphere is different, while remaining strong, albeit a different flavor of dark. The musical evolution from previous releases is clear and I’m anxious to see what dark concoctions are next.

Rating: 9/10
Originally posted on Resident Rock Star
Written by Derek Pettinelli

Metal RuleZ (2017-10-02)

Szwedzki Devourer choć zadebiutował dopiero cztery lata temu albumem zatytułowanym „All Hope Abandon” (pomimo ponad dekady istnienia). W 2017 roku John Falk oraz Fredrik Haf skomponowali kolejny materiał, którego efektem był „Across The Empty Plains”. Już poprzednim razem, muzyka jaką stworzyli prezentowała niezwykle wysoki poziom. I śmiało można by rzec, iż „Across The Empty Plains” przewyższa swojego poprzednika, zarówno pod względem ekstremy (znacznie większą ilość blastów) oraz ciekawszych aranżacji (na krążku generalnie więcej się dzieje). Z małymi wyjątkami („Finem Vitae Cura”, „Across The Empty Plains”), przez znaczną część płyty sunie solidna, black metalowa sieczka bez żadnych, zbędnych udziwnień. Devourer nie porywa się w kierunku nowinek, nie wprowadza też niczego do black metalu, co nieznane. Szwedzi pokazali za to jak stworzyć świetny album według sprawdzonych wzorców, nie zatracając się wyłącznie we własnych inspiracjach – odtwórczo, ale z głową. Takie właśnie jest „Across The Empty Plains”.

Rating: 8/10
Originally posted on Metal RuleZ

POWERMETAL.de (2017-09-15)

Athmosphärischer Schweden-Schwarz
Wird man nach schwedischem Black Metal gefragt, dürften einem als erstes Bands wie WATAIN oder MARDUK einfallen. Diese sind zwar die bekanntesten, aber es gibt in Schweden mittlerweile auch eine hohe Anzahl an Nachwuchsbands, die sicher auch zu einem nicht unerheblichen Anteil daran beteiligt sind, dass sich “Swedish Black Metal” vor allem in diesem Jahrtausend zu einer Art Gütesiegel entwickeln konnte. Dazu kann man auch DEVOURER zählen, dessen zweites Album “Across The Empty Plains” aktuell in den Startlöchern steht.

Aus den Boxen tönt richtig interessant klingender Black Metal, der gelegentlich mit Zutaten aus anderen Genres gewürzt ist. Am auffallendsten natürlich Death Metal, was bei einer Band aus Schweden keine Überraschung sein dürfte. Das ist kein Mix aus beiden Stilen, wie man es von DISSECTION kennt, sondern es werden eher Akzente gesetzt. Als Vergleich wären die späteren Alben von WATAIN zu nennen, die einem schon das eine oder andere Mal ins Gedächtnis gerufen werden beim Genuss von “Across The Empty Plains”.

Die große Stärke von DEVOURER sind die Midtempo-Songs, die auch immer sehr langsame, teilweise sogar epische Passagen enthalten. Hier schaffen es die Schweden, eine richtig dichte und düstere Atmosphäre zu kreieren, die von Gitarrenmelodien unterstrichen wird. Black Metal muss eben nicht immer nur Gebolze sein. Ein gutes Beispiel hierfür ist der Titeltrack, der gleichzeitig einer der stärksten auf der Scheibe ist. Oder ‘Finem Vitae Cura’, der das Gaspedal nicht immer voll durchdrückt und durch viele Tempowechsel und starkes Songwriting überzeugt.

Bei ‘Throne Of Agony’ gibt es sogar Keyboards zu hören, allerdings sehr dezent. Das klingt weder störend noch überladen, sondern unterstützt die Gitarrenwände, die in diesem Song aufgebaut werden. Auch hier laufen die Jungs wieder zu Höchstform auf.

Brutal können die Schweden natürlich auch, und das nicht zu knapp (u.a. ‘Deeds Of Rancor’). Wem WATAIN zuletzt nicht mehr bissig genug war, dem würde ich unbedingt empfehlen, hier mal ein Ohr zu riskieren. Die Anordnung der Lieder auf dem Album wurde auch sehr gut gelöst, die epischeren Songs wurden gut verteilt, was für ausreichend Abwechslung und Auflockerung sorgt.

“Across The Empty Plains” ist ein richtig starkes Black-Metal-Scheibchen geworden, das durch abwechslungsreiches Songwriting, viele gute Ideen und eine düstere Atmosphäre überzeugen kann. Raserei und Wahnsinn bekommt man hier genauso wie Epik und Dramatik. Die Songs sind allesamt richtig gut bis stark und machen verdammt viel Spaß. Einflüsse von anderen Bands sind zwar erkennbar, werden allerdings in einem gesunden Maße zelebriert, so dass trotzdem noch genug Eigenständigkeit vorhanden ist. Klare Empfehlung also an alle Freunde von schwedischem Schmarzmetall.

Rating: 8/10
Originally posted on POWERMETAL.de

Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life (2017-09-03)

Across the Empty Plains is the second album from Swedish black metal band, Devourer. Already available digitally, the album is getting a physical release on September 15th 2017 via Iron Blood and Death.

With a blast of instruments, the blackness rolls in like a thick fog.

A traditional style of black metal, Across the Empty Plains is ten tracks of gut-rumbling aggression. A fiery album that is coming off the back of a tough time for guitarist/bassist Falk. He was suffering from depression and opiate addiction, which put most of his musical activities on hold for almost two years.

After being forced into treatment by the Swedish law of mandatory treatment for abusers and alcoholics he has returned with a white-hot drenching of fury.

Unrelenting in force; Insania & Perdition absolutely slay with the only break into melody coming during the final few seconds of the latter. Both solid tracks, the album really comes alive though on Nexus of Evil. An absolute rager of a track, bookended by the speeding riffs that make up the album, it’s the deep & booming middle that is gob-smackingly good. The heaviest of heavy…darkness has never seemed so inviting.

The album just gets better & better as it goes on. The soaring riffs of the title track, the bile-inducing heaviness of Finem Vitae Cura, the flesh-ripping hooks of Extirpation & the devouring finale of Omega. Not a shred of humanity will be left by time the final crushing blows are dealt but you won’t care.

Simply brilliant.

Rating: 9/10
Originally posted on Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life

Necromance Digital Magazine (2017-08-29)

Desde Suecia, nos llega el segundo trabajo de esta banda de black metal, DEVOURER, “Across The Empty Plains”, contando con un artwork a cargo de Juanjo Castellano el cual ha trabajado con bandas como BELIAL, VOMITORY o SATHANAS, dejando un toque old school en su trabajo. Diez cortes distribuidos en algo más de 45 minutos, donde el black metal se alimenta de algunos riffs death para ofrecernos un trabajo repleto de agresividad y contundencia que hará las delicias de los amantes del género.

El artífice principal de esta banda es John Steinfaust Falk, encargado de las vertiginosas guitarras y composiciones que destrozaran nuestras neuronas como “Nexus Of Evil”, pero guardándose varios ases en la manga, contando con riffs acelerados de corte heavy y death que harán de sus progresiones musicales un ritual oscuro y repleto de maldad, en línea con DISSECTION, GORGOROTH, DEICIDE o MORBID ANGEL, de donde toma sus influencias. Sus voces también son infernales, de las cuales tiene la culpa Fredrik Crocel Haf, agresivas y crudas, con un toque más grave en el espectro del black metal, lo cual me gusta muchísimo, temas como “Perdition” o el medio tiempo “Across The Empty Plains”, dan buena fe de ello, y sobre todo este ultimo que nos da un pequeño respiro dentro de la vorágine abisal, un temazo.

“Deeds Of Rancor” o “Extirpation”, os destrozaran por completos con unos riffs vertiginosos y unos blast beats a la velocidad de la luz, donde la agresividad resuena como un ciclón de afiladas cuchillas, que nos rematará con “Finem Vitae Cura”, un corte brutal, atmosférico y melódico, el cual crece a cada paso de metrónomo, con un cabalgar épico envilecido. Y es que DEVOURER juega con sus melodías a la perfección, para incluirlas en cada corte a su manera, dotándolo de explosividad y contundencia, pero con unos riffs muy melódicos y épicos, “A Misanthropic Introspective” es un claro ejemplo de ello u “Omega”, tema que cierra este brutal álbum y lo hace con unos golpes de cuerdas graves y densos, para cerciorar que la maldad impregna cada uno de sus temas.

Si eres fan del black metal con toques death, DEVOURER se ha sacado un as bestial, donde la energía, la velocidad y un aplastante sonido se apoderará de tu cuerpo y tu mente para envilecer tu alma. Un discazo.

Rating: 9/10
Originally posted on Necromance Digital Magazine

Black Metal Daily (June 29th 2017-06-29)

When I say Swedish black metal, what do you think of? Well, that’s pretty much what you get here, which is in no way a bad thing. Two man project Devourer has been at it for fifteen years and it shows, this is really quite good. It’s furious and melodic with frequent forays into atmospheric or flat-out heavy deathlike territory. Nothing that reinvent the wheel so to speak, but hey, innovation is not the only way to make a great album.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a dynamic and exciting ride within the realm it plays in. From the atmosphere of the title track ‘Across the Empty Plains’ to the glorious attack of personal highlight ‘Deeds of Rancor’ that follows hot on its heels, Devourer take you through everything great about Swedish black metal. And they do it well.

The project has been total DIY for fifteen years and I really can’t say a bad word about it, so grab a name-your-price download from their Bandcamp and help spread the scriptures of Devourer ever further.

Not rated
Originally posted on Black Metal Daily

Wonderbox Metal (2017-06-11)

Devourer are a black metal band from Sweden and this is their second album. With an album cover that screams old-school death metal to me, this is actually equally old-school black metal, raw and cold.

Playing underground, second wave-influenced black metal, Across the Empty Plains is 46 minutes of Swedish-styled black metal that makes good use of both melody and aggression across its playing time.

The sharp screams of the singer strike just the right note, slicing and cutting alongside the equally sharp riffs. Dark melodies and fast blackened rhythms back up their singer’s bold assaults, providing an intimidating and spiked backdrop to his aural violence.

There’s a lot of fast material and blast beats on the album, but this isn’t the only pace that the band operate at and they do slow things down on occasion. This is usually just to provide some form of breathing space before the faster sections start once more. When they do appear though, the slower parts are quite nicely done and can even be quite atmospheric in places.

I also especially like the heavier mid-paced sections that crop up now and again. Nexus of Evil in particular has some great heavy riffs in it, and this is not the only example of this type of delivery to be found across the album’s playing time.

Overall the songs are well-written examples of the style, and despite its icy, frozen veneer, I found myself warming to this quite nicely. It’s an authentic and passionately delivered album, full of blackened treats for anyone that carries a torch for Swedish black metal.

Devourer have impressed. Give this a listen and get swept away in the black tide of darkness that they send forth.

Not rated
Originally posted on Wonderbox Metal

Occult Black Metal Zine (2017-06-01)

Devourer are a band from Sweden that plays a very raw and melodic form of black metal and this is a review of their self released 2017 album “Across the Empty Plains”.

A very dark, heavy and melodic sound starts off the album and when the music speeds up a great amount of blast beats can be heard while the tremolo picking gives the songs a more raw feeling and after a while grim black metal screams start to make their presence known and the music is heavily rooted in the Swedish style.

Throughout the recording there is a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts and there is also a brief use of clean guitars while you can also hear all the musical instruments that are present on the recording and the riffs also mix in elements of death and doom metal along with a small amount of growls and as the album progresses a brief use of spoken word parts can be heard and on one of later tracks also introduces a small amount of keyboards into the music.

Devourer plays a style of black metal that is very raw and melodic in the Swedish tradition while also mixing in elements of doom and death metal which makes the songs stand out a bit more, the production sounds very dark and heavy while the lyrics cover Occultism and Death themes.

In my opinion Devourer are a very great sounding raw and melodic black metal group with touches of doom and death metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this band. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE “Insania”, “Nexus of Evil”, “Extirpation” and “Omega”.

Rating: 8/10
Originally posted on Occult Black Metal Zine

Pest

No Clean Singing (2015-11-17)

The name of the new song is Pest. Steinfaust explains: Filth dealt with the nature of humanity and the video ends suitably with vocalist Crocell exploding like an atom bomb whilst representing humanity as a whole. Steinfaust handles the vocals on Pest and all the instruments as usual. The lyrical theme is about Christianity’s oppression of the northern Aesir faith in the 11th and 12th century and features a bit of choir taken from the soundtrack of Dragon Age: Inquisition in the end of the song.”

Steinfaust also notes that the soundtrack excerpt at the end “has been altered in both tempo and pitch.” The addition of that choral part at the end is an inspired touch, but before you get there your senses will be flooded by a succession of overpowering sounds, beginning with a fierce storm of roaring black death and followed by interludes of slower, doom-doused melody and a fascinating succession of guitar solos that are by turns alien and heart-aching.

It’s dense, atmospheric, electrifying music filled with dread, horror, and loss — and then you reach that choral finale, the voices interwoven with the riffs and heavy drum beats, and it’s just perfect.

Not rated
Originally posted on No Clean Singing

Filth

No Clean Singing (2013-09-03)

Devourer are a two-man Swedish band founded in 2002 by John “Steinfaust” Falk (who plays all instruments and is also the current drummer for the most excellent Sorcery) and eventually joined in 2007 by lead vocalist Fredrik “Crocell” Håf. After recording two demos (Malignant and Thy Devourer), the band released their first album in January 2013 under the title All Hope Abandon. I missed the album but did discover a new single yesterday — “Filth” — which premiered as a music video. Both the song and the video are excellent. The first thing that struck me about the music is how viscerally powerful the recording is — the song hits with physical force. The dynamic guitar work alternately chimes like demonic bells and writhes like a serpent. The drumming packs a tremendous punch (and when the blast-beats start, you’d better duck and cover), and Crocell’s unhinged howls are downright possessed. The imagery in the video is suitably disturbing and fascinating to watch (in part because Crocell has such an expressive face), and the pairing of the outro’s spooky reverberating guitar notes and electronic tones with all those nuclear events was a brilliant idea. The band produced the video themselves, which makes the feat all the more impressive.

Not rated
Originally posted on No Clean Singing

Malignant

My Last Chapter (2003)

The demo starts of sounding like Dark Funeral, but that’s only temporary and they take on a little more original sound later on. This is extreme and fuckin’ fast black metal. I just love this one. Bloody brutal. I can really tell that these two guys put a lot of effort into this. The guitars sound really great, the drums are brutal and the samples fit in perfectly. The production is great, better than what you usually get to hear on a black metal demo. Actually, it’s even better than you get to hear on some full lengths! A downer to this is the fact that they use programmed drums instead of a real drummer. The drums don’t really come alive. But I have to say that I don’t care. This is the best demo I’ve heard in a while. This is actually one of the best black metal bands I’ve ever heard! I hope this band get the attention they deserve. And if they do: it would really surprise me if they don’t get several record deal offers.

Rating: 8/10
Originally posted on My Last Chapter