Saturday, 3 October 2009

CD Review: God to the Illfated, by Devian (2008)

God to the Illfated is an excellent second CD from Sweden's Devian, and delivers songs that place a high priority on strong lyrical melodies. Surprisingly for a band with a limited catalogue, complex structures with pleasingly seamless transitions are common throughout, and there are no weak or filler tracks.

Although five band members of Devian are listed in the God to the Illfated 2009 CD booklet, bassist Roberth Karlsson is missing from the prominent band photo, having apparently left the band after recording this CD. The 2009 Century Media release in North America with two bonus tracks comes one year after the original 2008 European release.

When Devian click, and they do often, it is because of the twin guitar work of Joinus and Tomas Neilson. On most songs, they achieve a tight, high-energy sound that perfectly supports the growl of vocalist Legion. The drums of Emil Dragutinovic are solid but mostly unspectacular, and certainly not showy.

The speed of most of the tracks is suitably moderate to emphasize mature, classical-inspired harmonies that evolve throughout each song, although some songs like the title track pick up the pace and tilt the guitar work towards Slayer-inspired territory, while always keeping the melody at the forefront.

While the front-end of the CD is strong, the back-end is nothing short of spectacular. The highlights are many. From the opening set of songs, the mid-tempo Assailant features a quite brilliant and menacing guitar riff that demonstrates what can be achieved when perfect simplicity is married to inspiration.

South of Halo is an epic driven by a soaring melody and galloping guitar work that evokes a thrilling union of Kalmah and Iron Maiden, and for once the drums thunder to the front on a crunching segment that pulverizes concrete. When the Vultures Have Left is almost equally as well structured, while the final two bonus tracks, Reap the Storm and Raison D'etre, are pure melodic guitar showcases, emphasizing rapid staccato riffs that lock into magical grooves.

When it's all said and done, God to the Illfated muscles its way forwards on the list of all-time best heavy metal CDs -- quite the achievement from a relatively unknown Swedish outfit.


Legion - Vocals
Joinus - Guitars
Tomas Nilsson - Guitars
Roberth Karlsson - Bass
Emil Dragutinovic - Drums

Songlist (Rating out of 10):

1. Mask of Virtue - 8
2. Assailant - 9 *See Video Below*
3. The Unspoken - 7
4. Saintbleeder - 8
5. I'm the Pariah - 7
6. God to the Illfated - 8
7. Summerdeath - 8
8. South of Halo - 10
9. Awaiting Doom - 8
10. When the Vultures Have Left - 9
11. Reap the Storm - 9
12. Raison D'etre - 9

Average: 8.33

Engineered by Rickard Kottelin and Peter Tagtgren.
Mixed by Peter Tagtgren. Mastered by Peter In de Betou.
Produced by Devian.

All Ace Black Blog CD Reviews are here.

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