REVIEW: Observer – Salvation’s Ruination [EP/2013]


Artist: Observer

Album: Salvation’s Ruination [EP]



Evil has many sounds and operates under a plethora of guises. From the remnants of failed dictatorships and oppressive reigns to the pithy crimes that take place under our noses each and every day, we–as a society–are in the constant presence and under the ever-watching eye of sinister intent and errant depravity. In many ways, heavy deathcore act Observer are no different. Their debut EP, Salvation’s Ruination is an archetypical, all-inclusive example of suffocating, sinister brutality. Combining eerie, unsettling atmosphere with straight-forward, skin-rending slams and bone-splintering breakdowns, Observer’s breakout effort is a near-20 minute lesson of sheer, sinful, heavy evil, which will leave the listener desiccated, violated, broken and loving every second of it.

With an otherwise unremarkable intro, Salvation’s Ruination kicks off on an unsettlingly subtle note. Like a deep, steady calm before an unfathomably viscous storm, the typical intro fades perfectly into “Architect,” a track which beautifully highlights both of Observer’s clear talents. Deep, heavy guitars and pounding, glorious drums accompany the growled, bitter and abusive vocals, while the high, ambient fretwork and splashy cymbals are capable of creating an immersive, haunting atmosphere which keeps the listener’s ears engaged when the rest of their head isn’t too busy banging. By toggling these two elements back and forth in a fluid and crafty manner, Salvation’s Ruination becomes more than just an average heavy-but-technical deathcore release. Rather, these elements set Observer apart as a band who are capable of writing engaging, creative material which appeals to fans of extreme, spine-crushing deathcore and ambient, progressive shredding all in one well-wrapped package.

Observer’s unending heaviness is easily their most appealing and most readily available facet. Vocalist Devin Todd’s ridiculous, subterranean low growls are peerless in volume and density, while guitarists Trevor Harrison and Mattie Cortopassi toggle and bounce chug-heavy riffs and grimy, slippery grooves off of one another to create a neck-breaking, head-breaking environment for the listener to occupy. While these elements are hard at work punching the listener in the jaw and chest, the drums are twisting a long, serrated knife into the listener’s back. With a heavy, oppressively booming bass drum and a hard-hitting, cracking snare, Jesse Sigrist’s superb percussion is another subtle yet pervasive draw of Salvation’s Ruination. “Night Terror,” along with the lead single “Fields of Affliction” are packed with iconically heavy and visceral breakdowns with filthy, slamming grooves to keep them company. While the guitars are playing off of the fast-paced drumming and chugging along at a break-neck pace, the vocals are right beside them, with the low end of Todd’s superb range and ability creating an easily-enjoyable, relentlessly heavy aspect of the release which will please the listener beyond measure, even as it beats them senseless and bleeds them dry.

The other end of Observer’s brutalizing dialectic is their limitless atmosphere which grasps the listener when they least expect it. “Possession” is the track which does this best. Lacing heavy, groovy riffs with quick-fingered fretwork and technically impressive instrumentation, the guitars and splashy cymbal effects reach out and soothe the listener, providing them momentary solace from the bitter, violent attack that has been waged on them so far in the EP. It’s moments and contrasts like these which make Salvation’s Ruination so fresh and entertaining for the listener. Sure, it’s got heavy moments, and sure, it’s got quick little interludes, but the cross-talk between the two elements is what makes it so easy for the listener to get lost in the experience. Rather than just bobbing their head along to the evil-sounding screams and punishingly heavy breakdowns, the listener is completely encompassed by them, and can feel the release’s pernicious wrath flowing through their veins.

Whether or not you fancy yourself to be an evil person, or a person who does evil things, you should certainly give Observer’s Salvation’s Ruination a listen. A thoroughly sinister experience from start to finish, the persistently oppressive breakdowns, immersive, slimy grooves and ethereal moments of near-serene bliss create a micro-environment of deathcore perfection, which, despite the short run time, the listener will find themselves blasting on repeat for days on end.


Rating: 10/10

By: Connor Welsh

For Fans Of: And Hell Followed With, Oceano, Knives Exchanging Hands