Artist: The Devil Himself
Albums: Revelations – EP
Remember the last time you went to the mall? Or maybe you were numbly wandering your way through the hordes of people in the hallways of your school—every day, we expose ourselves to the masses. However, writhing beneath the skin of the unknowing, lurking within the flesh of a hollow human host walks the very essence of sin—the true embodiment of evil. Poised, sulking beneath the sullen, eerie pallor of a mindless vector, it spent the better part of 2014 waiting until, finally, it erupts, manifesting itself as The Devil Himself. These Texan titans are deathcore the way fans of the genre since it’s inception like it—fast enough to light the listener’s skin ablaze, yet slow and sinister enough to feel like knives are being dragged along the listener’s spine. True—2014 was the year of the down-tempo emergence, but a lesser (yet equally important) rebirth took place: the resurgence of ravaging, old-school deathcore—and Revelations is a raunchy, riveting testament to that. What it lacks in length, it more than makes up for with speedy blast beats a plenty, and more bone-crunching breakdowns than you can shake a stick at, there is something for fans of any kind of heavy music.
The Devil Himself’s Revelations EP can be described as energetic, intense deathcore—nothing more, nothing less. Instrumentally, it is a whirlwind of classic deathcore staples and standards that fans of heavy music practically thrive on. “Impossible Brutality” is an aptly named example of the EP’s instrumental intensity—beginning with a grotesque, filth-covered groove and meaty, galloping kick drums that soon build up a frenzied momentum powerful enough to send the track ripping into the listener’s chest with a hail of machine gun-like kick drum and fill patterns. “Of Love and Lust” takes a different path, however, sacrificing speed and technical instrumentation for thrashy, metallic and nu-influenced riffing that hammers a hole through the listener’s skull with precise percussive force only to infect the listeners brain with groovy, contagious catchiness. In short, Revelations’ guitar work combines Bermuda’s penchant for furiously fretted fun with Whitechapel and Oceano’s proclivities for punishing, pure brutality—and what more could a fan of deathcore really ask for?
Sure enough, where The Devil Himself’s instrumentation blazes a path of sturdy death metal-meets-hardcore consistency, the vocal element follows boldly. Revelations is home to a strong, beefy low range that is contrasted by a shrill—if not slightly weak and faltery—scream that paints a brilliant and diverse soundscape of vocal styles to keep the listener immersed. Where “Of Love and Lust” was the metallic and brute instrumental counterpart to “Impossible Brutality” or “Abandoned By God,” the same can be said of the vocals. “Of Love and Lust” sees frontman Jayrad Olivares incorporating more almost-spoken chants and half-shouted screams than the EP’s other songs, giving his voice an eerie feel almost as if he was beginning a sermon to Satan mid-track. Even as his screeches and screams feel flat or a bit underwhelming at parts, his gruff mids and ear-shredding bellows more than make up for it, providing excellent diversity and immense talent all in one succinct package. This diversity is expanded upon with the addition of guest vocalist Tyler Shelton (of Floridian heavyweights Traitors) on the track “Inhuman.” What would have been an otherwise absurdly heavy track is made bewilderingly brutal by the addition of Shelton’s sinister, surreal low gurgles, inducing instantaneous prolapse in the listener with neither remorse nor relent.
Between the well-executed instrumentals and the engaging vocals, Revelations is an EP that gives the listener a whiplash-inducing throwback to the days of old-school deathcore lore. Granted, what The Devil Himself might lack in originality or lyrical brilliance (“Impossible Brutality,” after all, is home to some brutal, but cringe-inducing one-liners), it more than makes up for with perfect execution. Revelations isn’t the sound of a band trying to redefine a genre or break new ground building a style all of their own—rather, it is the sound of a band drenching the modern metal scene in kerosine and lighting it ablaze, laughing and watching as it burns to rubble. “Abandoned by God”—or really any of the EP’s four furies of throwback deathcore perfection—are more than enough to make the listener want to go on a myspace-circa-2007 heavy music binge that won’t end until hundreds are in a hospital or they’re in a morgue.
Morbidly heavy, monstrously aggressive and subtly technical are all apt ways to describe The Devil Himself’s EP, Revelations. However, the best way to prepare yourself for it would be to go dig up an old I Shot the Sheriff EP, or maybe revisit IateEverybody’s ancient modicum of metallic mastery—because, as the saying goes, history is bound to repeat itself.
For Fans Of: Whitechapel, Bermuda, IateEverybody, I Shot the Sheriff
By: Connor Welsh