Devastator – Conjurers of Cruelty (Listenable Records)

Wednesday, 28th February 2024
Rating: 8 / 10

Located in the East Midlands of the UK, Devastator hails from Derbyshire County, a four-piece that displays a vicious form of blackened thrash metal through this second studio record Conjurers of Cruelty. Working their way up the ranks through two demo releases as well as 2020’s Baptised in Blasphemy debut album for the now defunct UK label Clobber Records. Signing with the reputable Listenable Records, this set of material not only has a sense of impassioned fury in terms of the riffs, blackened vocals, and thunderous rhythm section work – but also that added classic, traditional harmony or punk-infused sensibilities to hammer home tons of catchy passages that will cause headbanging madness.

It’s obvious through specific musical passages right away on the title track plus “Black Witchery” follow-up that these gents have ingested their fair share of classic Slayer, Venom, or Metallica records – the momentum shifts gargantuan as if slipping from first to fifth gear in a nano second. The sound of the band may lead through speed rhythms where specific tremolo runs punctuate the energetic textures, yet there’s this underlying twin harmony/bass infusion between the musicians where you can tell they love those early Maiden efforts equally. Spitting out tales of blasphemy, anti-religious themes through titles like “Bestial Rites” and “Necromantic Lust”, bassist T. Nachtghul uses his nasty, raspy screams plus gruff mid-range to convey sinister words, reverb/echo effects only enhancing that edge tenfold. The versatility engages listeners to commit track by track. A love of Motörhead apparent in the main riffs as well as gang-like chorus for “Walpurgisnacht”, while Celtic Frost meets Bathory influences penetrate the slower, crushing “Deathspell Defloration”, where the speedy tempo shift midway through sends shivers as guitarists R. Amun and C.W. Wolfgang use fiery fingers to dazzle the aural landscape in burning hot intensity. CD owners will get two bonus tracks, “Liars In Wait” and “Death Forever”, the latter another killer throwback to the days of early Exciter or Metallica as the thrash/speed metal foundation beyond the shouted gang chorus should cause pit mania everywhere.

The combination of influences keeps Devastator in that seesaw platform where they have elements that traditional metal fans will enjoy, but most underground, extreme followers of this movement will appreciate Conjurers of Cruelty very appealing. Those who like a bit more diversity plus musicianship enhancement beyond the normal evilness and aggression will probably keep this high on their permanent rotation playlists.

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