Devastation - "Idolatry" - 4/5
A nice creepy mood-setting intro? Check. Awesomely powerful opening guitar riff that comes out of nowhere? Check. Massive guitar tone? Check. Equally powerful vocals? Well….no check. You know an album is going to be good when it retains up at least a few of the items on this check list, and Devastation’s “Idolatry” is no exception.
Devastation are a hard-hitting thrash band serving it up old-school from Corpus Christi Texas (that counts as a bay area, right?) and, with their third release, they have hit the proverbial nail on the head. As a matter of fact, the only words to really describe the affects of one listen through this album would be “total…DEVASTATION!!!!” Lame puns at the expense of the band’s name aside, this album really is a must-have for any fans of thrash, old-school death metal, heavy metal or grindcore (not really the last one; I’m just making sure that you’re paying attention. :P).
The guitars on this album are really the thing that impressed me first, and the feature that kept me really fascinated and interested throughout the duration of the CD. The dual guitar attack of Dave Burk and Henry Elizondo deliver riff after devastating (Ha! Sorry, I couldn’t resist) bone-crushing, skull-bashing riff, all packaged nicely with some super heavy and somewhat crunchy guitar tone that’s thicker than any of the eggnog that will be consumed this season. Add on top of that a nice smattering of really quite epic guitar solos and you have the recipe for win.
The only drawback to the album is, to my mind, the vocals. Not being a true connoisseur of thrash (indeed, power/heavy and death metal are my genres of choice), I can honestly say that thrash vocals do not really appeal to me. There are some vocalists that I don’t mind, and some that absolutely drive me crazy. Vocalist Rodney Dunsmore definitely falls into the former category; I don’t feel that they really particularly detract from the album, but I’m not entirely sure that they add that much. They seem rather weak, although the explanation for that probably lies more in the fact that the guitars are so over-powering rather than a lack of excellence in Dunsmore’s performance. And, like I said, I’m not a huge fan of thrash vocals to begin with.
While all of the songs are good, the stand out tracks would have to be ‘Deliver the Suffering’ for the creepy intro that explodes suddenly into classic thrash riff goodness, ‘Idolatry’ for the really cool riff when the electric guitar comes in and the closing track, ‘Never Believe’ for beating the listener over the head with a baseball bat for its entire almost five minute duration.
“Idolatry” is definitely a great album; almost all meat and no filler. Chock full of heavy yet catchy riffing and just some great classic-style thrash, this really should be an essential album for every metalhead’s collection.
By A. Rath