Artist: God of Nothing
Album: Devoured by Death – EP
Death is a widely unspoken but overwhelming fear of just about every man, woman and child in the world. To some degree, we all fear it—because after all, it is human nature to, on some level, fear what we don’t understand. Some people aren’t preoccupied by it: death is simply life’s “better half,” as you can’t have one without the other. However, for other people, it is an all-consuming fear—they rob themselves of sleep with nightmares of spiritual destruction and the resulting nothingness that follows. For those people, their wildest fears have become realized in the latest release by North Virginia’s annihilating deathcore quartet, God of Nothing. The group’s latest EP, Devoured by Death is an infusion of devastatingly heavy down-tempo deathcore with riff-friendly, groovy death metal—resulting in a neck-snapping display of aggression that may not reinvent the genre, but will almost certainly revitalize the passions of heavy music fans worldwide.
Formed by a fusion of I, The Reverend and God of Nothing’s existing line-up, the new-and-improved God of Nothing’s refreshed lineup is displayed prominently in their punishing new EP. Devoured by Death finds itself at the crossroads of brutality, technicality and catchiness—with drummer Eugene Plastino holding down each attribute with ease. Plastino’s percussion oscillates from quick, rampaging fills to beefy, bone-bruising bass drum patterns that serve as the foundation for furious, otherworldly breakdowns. “Solace” is a look at Plastino’s punctual, technical prowess, while the brief “Death” is a display in bare-bones heaviness. “Bereavement” sees Plastino blending the two, roaming from ravaging fills and fleet feet to slow sections of dissonant mayhem that feel like an unbelievable weight is being pressed to the listener’s spine with excruciatingly slow speed. Here, Plastino relies on bassist Steven Hoisington to make each plodding thud of the kick drum ten times beefier. Hoisington adds depth and dimension to Devoured by Depth, lending power to God of Nothing’s grisly breakdowns, and heft to guitarist Michael Slaughter’s skin-shearing grooves. Slaughter brings much-needed diversity to God of Nothing’s new style. Where insane riffs and bizarre grooves reigned on Tormentor, Devoured by Death favors an overall slower pace; however, without Slaughter’s occasional foray into tremolo-picked leads (“Death”) and insidious, catchy grooves (“Solace,” “Dark(ist)”), the band would be little more than another new downtempo deathcore act in a scene and time that honestly doesn’t need one. However, Slaughter plays to Plastino’sskillset brilliantly, giving Devoured by Death variety—even if they are ultimately just varying shades of black.
Where God of Nothing’s debut EP was home to a solid vocal outing, it was little more than decorative icing on an already busy and scattered cake. This meant the listener was hard-pressed to enjoy the complete depth and diversity of frontman RidzHolsclaw’s skill—something that steals the show throughout Devoured by Death. In short, Holsclaw’s talent is such that you almost miss his voice during the guest vocal appearance by deathcore legend Dan Watson during “Dark(ist).” Reigning over God of Nothing with an unbelievable range and equally noteworthy power and stamina, Holsclaw is a horrifying, prodigal talent who will, without a doubt, rapidly ascend heavy music’s hierarchy of skilled screamers once Devoured begins to circulate. While “Dark(ist)” is home to a brilliant performance, “Bereavement” may be Holsclaw’s defining track, dominating it’s entirety with relentless force and bold storytelling reminiscent of a young Oceano or Whitechapel. “Silence” is another track highlighting Holsclaw—only here, it is catchy vocal candor and lyric placement that he boasts above otherwise impeccable diversity. The takeaway message when it comes to God of Nothing’s vocal element is simple: the band’s latest release is strong throughout, but is defined by a series of incredible peaks.
Between gut-turning grooves and gut-splitting breakdowns, Devoured by Death is everything a fan of heavy music could want out of a deathcore release—even if it doesn’t stretch much beyond that. What God of Nothing boast in resounding impact and incredible first-impressions wears thin in replay value, with only “Bereavement” and “Dark(ist)” truly withstanding the test of time (and perhaps the climax of “Silence”). Ultimately, this doesn’t stop the band’s sophomore release from doing what several bands fail to achieve throughout a complete discography—as Devoured by Death is an excellent reminder of why the listener got into heavy music, as it is a compendium of deathcore (and it’s down-tempo brother) at its finest moments, with little filler to be found.
If you’re a thrill seeker who gets off on the fact that you don’t fear your demise, give Devoured by Death a listen. Horrid, crunchy heaviness with catchiness and technicality woven in, God of Nothing will put more than the fear of God into you—they will put the fear of the never-ending darkness that follows your death into the core of your essence.
For Fans Of: Beyond the Aftermath, Oceano, Traitors, Bodysnatcher, Whitechapel
By: Connor Welsh