SOUNDS OF THE TEXAS UNDERGROUND
Vol. II: The Devil Himself – Beeville edition
by Ryan A Vasquez
Band in the hot seat:
The Devil Himself
Album under review:
“In The Name Of God”
Full-length or EP:
down tempo deathcore
unsigned/Tonal Recordings-Rockport, TX
Chris Marshall – Tonal Recordings
Mix & Mastered by:
Cover art by:
There’s more to The Devil than one might think. This down tempo deathcore outfit from the evil realm of Beeville, Texas brings more to the music table than just the dropped low tuning, held-out dark chords, double-bassing and hardcore vocals. Obviously, no one would ever think there might be a few tracks with clean vocals and harmonizing, considering the name and the genre. Some audiences will take one look and assume all they need to know and pre-determine if they would like it or not even bother listening to one note. So when it comes to The Devil Himself‘s (TDH) first full length album “In The Name Of God,” it’s accurate to say The Devil does have many disguises.
We begin with the opening track “Premonition” which could be what the audience hears as TDH takes their places. The first half of this track sets an uneasy tone of corruption and the horrible of society with real audio playback overdubbing of actual news reports and very disturbing commentary. The band then enters the track with a sample of their signature sound; not in a full volume execution just yet, but a good prelude nonetheless.
This will lead to the first single, “Devil’s Eyes,” featuring Bryan Long, vocalist for the Floridian deathcore national act Dealey Plaza.
Jayrad Olivares, vocalist, will also use his clean baritone octave singing in four songs to push a melodic chorus at times aside from his grinds that turn out to be a little catchy, I found, even though I usually side with the grinds more. And the clean vocal pairing of Olivares and the mystery woman in “Of Love and Lust II” works well and shows her vocal discipline as well.
Once the short guitar build-up instrumental “Of The Angel” hands off to “Weight Of The World,” many will agree the combination of the baritone clean vocals and the signature beatdown/down-tuned death would make a great single.
The guitar work and rhythm section in this portion of the album are written well and demonstrate the versatility of a less intense and more musical style before getting pissed and beating it down once again.
The editor’s pick for the clean vocal infusion tracks goes to “Fatalism” for the creative balance of a catchy melody to the uptempo prog. style metalcore and death.
The second half of the album, audiences will clearly notice, concentrate more on revealing the true demon of the music and defining their signature death writing ability. The transition from semi-radio friendly to pure Hell starts with “Bloodshed Begins” featuring Jamie Hanks, vocalist for the pacific Northwest brutal death-grindcore great, I Declare War.
Songs like “My Ma5k” and “The False Messiah” will incite the audience to release their own inner demons and brutally open the pit floor. The major down tempo portions and hardcore vocals have a sound similar to that of Black Tongue and The Acacia Strain while the blast beats, breakdowns and evil shredding sound similar to that of Ingested and Infant Annihilator.
Even though the final track, “In The Name Of God,” would crush it as a solid show closer, the editor’s pick from the brutal side of this album goes to “Godspeed.” The beginning of this track builds in a way where once the main riff explodes, every metal-head should recognize a “wall-of-death” song when they hear it.
This album definitely hit the mark on the heavy beatdown side and the melodic part without going off on an “American Idol” vocal tangen. Different audiences that favor sub-genres of heavy melodic tastes will find a connection to this just as much as the portion of the crowd that needs to take their built-up anger out in the pit to some downtempo deathcore. If the album isn’t enough to sell you, perhaps see the live version for the ultimate TDH experience.