Devourment – Obscene Majesty (Relapse)Sunday, 11th August 2019
Admittedly, there was a lot to be excited about at the prospect of Devourment’s latest album. For one, it’s been six years since the band released Conceived in Sewage, and in that time, they have reunited with former vocalist Ruben Rosas (who appeared on their debut full-length Molesting the Decapitated) and former drummer Brad Fincher. While the end product isn’t disappointing, it doesn’t go anywhere besides brutality and really overstays its welcome.
First things first, anyone who is big into brutal/slam death metal is undoubtedly still going to have a field day with the sheer brutality offered by Obscene Majesty. It’s muddy, it’s heavy, and it’s completely uncompromising in tone. Slamming chugs all but rattle your ear drums to their core, and the filthy and gritty tone to it is impressively disgusting. As are Rosas’ vocals, which hit that brutal gurgling that many aspire to in the genre, though they do stay a bit high in the mix. The band blasts and slams their way to glory, but the victory doesn’t quite reach them, due to the sheer length of the album. Ultra-brutal releases like this can be hard to maintain for 30-minutes, let alone a staggering 47-minute runtime. For many, this will be the album’s greatest weakness as it starts to consume the listener more and more with each track. Listening to a few songs is blissfully bludgeoning in all aspects, but to hear the entire release turns it into a complete slog. A few songs breach the 5-to-6 minute mark, but don’t really do much outside of the already mentioned formatting. Due to the (admittedly suiting) grimy production, it renders any idea of song retention for this same reason. The riffs tend to blur at higher speeds, leaving just the rumbling slams to carry the brunt of the weight, which diminishes some of their heft.
There’s something to be said for the completely uncompromising nature of Obscene Majesty. Some die-hards are likely to herald it a brutal masterpiece, but it also has its limitations because of it. The real tragedy is the overbearing length – there’s a devastating 25-minute album here that’s trying to come out, crushed by the weight of its runtime that is nearly doubled.