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Devourment ‘Conceived in Sewage’ album review
Devourment’s ‘Conceived in Sewage’ (Relapse), released 25 February 2013, was ‘Album of the Month’ in Terrorizer 232. We are today streaming the full album, and you can read José Carlos Santos’s review in full below. The album is available direct from Relapse and on iTunes. Follow Devourment on FaceBook.
Devourment have had a very irregular career so far, stumbling across line-up reshuffles, band break-ups, incarcerations and average releases after laying down one a massively important record with their debut. 1999’s ‘Molesting The Decapitated’ is often credited as one of the originators of the very specific slam subgenre (alongside Internal Bleeding’s first couple of efforts), and it’s certainly one of the sickest piles of musical depravity ever assembled. 14 years later, it all seems to have been finally put into place again for Devourment to spit out yet another landmark release, as the majestic destructive power of ‘Conceived In Sewage’ suggests. Having left most of the slams behind (there are still a few well-placed moments in there, though!) in favour of a looser, groovier approach, these Texans aren’t, however, making any concessions. The little militarist interlude ‘March To Megiddo’ is the only respite from the constant death metal fury.
Erik Rutan’s remarkable production job ensures the balance between murkiness, clarity and impact is perfect and maximized for optimum head-caving ability, while Mike Majewski’s voice has become versatile enough to make you wonder who else is growling, squealing and roaring along with him even when all vocals are his. Most of all, the space allowed in the compositions for proper riffs to slither through gives songs such as the title track and its ‘Blessed Are The Sick’-like putridly slow and twisting build-up or ‘Tomorrow We Die, Tomorrow We Kill’s unstoppable Cannibal Corpse crunch a personality all of their own. And this is what really, really nails it. Personality is always a plus in music, but in this context it’s even more precious. It takes something very special to even get noticed in 2013 for any band, let alone a death metal band, even if they have a previously established name. Look at the band that gives this magazine its name for a quick example. Do you remember ‘Hordes Of Zombies’? Probably not, no-one does, because it’s generic crap. Even if it was released only a few months ago, and even if it is a legendary band.
That scenario is even harsher for the ultra-brutal bands like Devourment, who operate in what is, let’s face it, a rather limiting set of stylistic boundaries. Death metal, generally speaking, is at the heart of extreme music as a whole, especially now that enough years are starting to go by to give us a proper sense of history and evolution. It’s in our collective DNA as the genre that got most of us into the really extreme stuff. The specific characteristics of brutal death metal and today’s over-exposition and abundance of releases all mean that everything has been taken to every extreme by everyone – it doesn’t matter if you have songs called ‘Fucked With Rats’, or if you exalt the virtues of murder (‘Legalize Homicide’) or war (‘Fifty Ton War Machine’), it won’t phase anyone anymore. Today, to provide proper death metal of the highest order like almost no-one does it anymore, you need fucking great songs that sound like your band, that sound like you mean it like no one else could. Fortunately, that’s precisely what ‘Conceived In Sewage’ delivers.
 JOSÉ CARLOS SANTOS