Album: Deviant – EP
A smoke swirls up from between the loose floorboards of your room. It winds into your nostrils, weaving its way into your bloodstream. Before long, it has crossed the blood-brain barrier and is hard at work manipulating your meninges and seizing control of your motor neurons.
It wants you do to terrible things.
It is the debut EP by Deviant, a sinfully heavy and sinister-beyond-belief heavy metalcore band from (you guessed it) South Florida. Driven by the seven deadly sins and combining bouncy percussion with writhing, grimy bass and groovy, crushing riffs–with a touch of devastating brutality–Deviant live true to their name, defying social conventions and delivering seventeen minutes of non-stop sin.
It has control of you—and its first instructions are simple: Steal. Kill. Lie. Cheat. It urges you to forsake everything your higher consciousness has crafted you into, begging you to give in to the whimsical wants and needs of your id. This thirst for aggression is almost quenched by the energetic, frantic instrumentation that defines Deviant’s debut. Carefully residing on the border between dissonant, airy aggression and straightforward, riffy bitterness, Deviant is a unique band that is comprehensively heavy, even at their most atmospheric. Matt Stokes, the man behind the mayhem, is the one to thank for this. Stokes leaves no stone unturned in his attempt to corrode the listener’s moral integrity.
From the haunting introduction, “Lust” to the EP’s last ringing snare crack, Stokes is a cutthroat. Even the closing track, “Envy” is ruthless, drowning the listener in carefully composed dissonance. “Wrath” is perhaps Stokes at his most sinister (making the track aptly named). “Wrath” is a picture perfect display of the deadly sin that serves as its namesake, as frantic fretwork and pummeling percussion drive nail after nail into the listener’s coffin, burying them alive beneath tons and tons of filth and grime.
Even as you try to resist the wills of Satan’s drug dissolving in your system, you feel yourself fading. A voice in your head continues, chanting: fight. Feast. Fuck. Deviant continues abusing the listener’s morality by urging them to give into their carnal whims. Once more, Stokes is the mind and the pen behind Deviant’s insidious lyrics—and Nick Sadler is the voice. Sadler, assisted by Jesus Rivera and Brandon West of Vilis and Logan Beaver of Eavesdropper, is the whisper in the back of your head that tells you to act as you want—as mankind was intended to—and live without fear of consequence. “Gluttony” is a brilliant example, showcasing both Stokes’ supreme lyricism and Sadler’s sinister vocal delivery. “Envy” and “Greed” are two more excellent examples, as not only is Sadler absolutely on point with his delivery once more, but the song structure is set up to brilliantly mirror the album’s intent, lodging the thirst for blood and violence deep in the listener’s psyche with sing-songy vocals and contagiously catchy repetition.
You cannot take it anymore. The drug wins, possession grips your mind in its iron hand, molding you into a tool. Deviant are part catchy, part creative and completely crushing—leaving precious little left of the listener’s sanity by the time their debut effort is done with. Stokes is not simply an expert musician and bold lyricist, but a brilliant songwriter. Deviant’s instrumentation is an excellent vector for its vocals and lyrical delivery. “Pride” has a catchy, eerie beat that hammers home the bizarre sample behind it, while “Wrath” is frenzied and heavy enough to send senior citizens into a mosh pit. Not since Vilis’ debut release or Sworn In’s The Death Card has a band so successfully captured a lyrical theme with potent and relevant instrumentation, combing the two into an unstoppable experience that will not cease until the listener is completely obliterated.
Flesh scarred from self-harm and soul blackened by moral decay, Deviant got the better of you–just as they have countless other heavy music fans. From the first second the listener lets Deviant into their head, they become a slave to their incredible, unique display of possessive heaviness–to be used up until there is nothing of them left to use.
For Fans Of: Sworn In, Vilis, Eavesdropper, Witness
By: Connor Welsh