Oct 222011

(Here’s yet another Revisiting the Classics piece by TheMadIsraeli.)

I know. Another thrash album. Tell me it’s not your thing all you want, but this genre is still the shit AND I THINK YOU GUYS MIGHT ACTUALLY DIG THIS ONE, as it has a bit of a death-thrash vibe going on.

Devastation were, and are, one of my favorite cult bands from the late 80’s/early 90’s. They combined death metal ferocity and riffing with the speed and technicality of thrash metal, and it is all too unfortunate that they released their masterpiece in the form of Idolatry at the wrong time. Released in 1991, this album, full of speed and brutality, hit just as a groove-focused surge was starting to take over in heavy music.  This album had no realistic chance of getting anywhere, and really, it didn’t, but solely because of the musical landscape of the time period surrounding it.

Let it be known, though, that this album is just utter chaos. The riffs are atonal, dissonant, frightening, and full of fury. The vocals are as well, vocalist Rodney Dunsmore delivering a Chuck Schuldiner-esque howl that foams at the mouth and gnashes with blood-hungry fangs. (more after the jump . . .)

Opener “Deliver The Suffering” is the perfect start for this album, totally summarizing what it’s all about. After a minute-long eerie piano and synth intro, a wall of double-bass and weighty riffing crashes through the gates of the inferno with a deliberate march. The transition into fucking ape-shit speed just sends you into a fury of windmilling and moshing. It’s made obvious at this point that Devastation wasn’t content to sit squarely within the thrash framework. These guys craved something far more intense, far more visceral, something similar to bands such as Demolition Hammer or Sepultura.

The Slayer-like, churning grooves of “Freewill” speak a sonic mission statement that feels almost as if the band is already trying to finish you off on the second song alone. Here we experience one of the few moments when Devastation breaks into a melody of any kind, with a catchy pedal-point verse riff. There are jarring groove-to-frantic speed transitions on this track, something I’ve always enjoyed about the more brutal thrash bands.

“Forsaken Hatred” is a blistering onslaught of more speed, while “Souls Of Sacrifice” is the grooviest thrash song I’ve ever heard without devolving into groove-metal cliche.

But addressing the nuances of individual songs isn’t the real point of this album. This album is in heavy excess of your get-fucked capacity, and it’s all-in — no more spoon feeding your get-fucked dosage here. I mean, I mean like, IT’S SO HEAVY AND SO AWESOME. Just fuck well-thought-out, analytical reviewing. WIth an album like this, that shit is for the birds. This is a death-thrash/proto-death-metal classic. Undeniably.

I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome this album is.


EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Metal Archives, Devastation was formed in Corpus Christi, Texas and released their first demo in 1986. Idolatry (1991) was the last of three albums. In 2008, Rodney Dunsmore resurrected the band, with line-up changes, and they began performing again. Dunsmore announced that the band was writing new songs and planned to release a new album, but nothing new has yet surfaced.


  1. I had to go to Wikipedia to figure out what a pedal-point is. I’m not sure if I understand it or not, but it’s interesting.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll never really understand music composition……

    That said, I liked the guitars and drums. But the vocals really didn’t do much for me.

  2. Wait, so are you telling me that people who visit this site are into death metal and NOT thrash? Wasn’t sure that was even possible. Unless you’re one of those “young pups” who missed the thrash heyday and think Cannibal Corpse is the “be all end all of extreme music”.

    Haven’t heard this album in years. I’m quite sure it got lost in the shuffle of when death metal started to break big and thrash began to take a back seat.

    • I think TheMadIsraeli feels defensive about his love of thrash. Not sure why. Could be because of me (I’ve never been a big fan of thrash and I’m especially meh about the re-thrash “movement”).

      • Question…why do you think re-thrash (which Im not a fan of either for the most part) gets dismissed so easily, but retro death metal seems to get a pass (though I think the tide is finally starting to turn on this one as well)

        • That’s a good question, to which I don’t have a good answer. In my case, it’s mainly a matter of taste. I just like old-school death metal more than I like straight thrash. I wish i could say that more bands in the OSDM revival are bringing something new to the old sound than is true of re-thrash bands, but I doubt that’s correct; at least, I can’t prove it.

          I’m very happy listening to new/newish bands faithfully capturing the early- to mid-90s Swedish, Florida, and NY death scenes. In the case of thrash, I really need something new in the mix. Like BadWolf in a later comment in this thread, I’m a big fan of Skeletonwitch, Revocation, and Vektor (among others) because that’s what they’ve done successfully.

        • Never thought of that, but wasn’t aware there was any backlash on it. Seems to be thoroughly embraced by the amount of new bands that have sprung forth these days.

          For me any of the NEWER thrash bands just sound boring and/or not nearly as violent/aggressive, I’d rather listen to the old bands. Plus most of the new thrash bands have too clean of a production, it mutes some of the “bite/edge” that the old guard has/had.

          Throwback death metal bands don’t seem to have that overly polished sound. In the case of Bloodbath and Vallenfyre, they have the pedigree of famous musicians from the scene. And the “newbies” seem to capture the old sound perfectly or pay homage to the masters (ala Coffins does to Autopsy) that it comes across more genuine.

          • I dont think we’re at the backlash point yet, but we’re getting to the saturation point.. I love it personally..I live for that type of music, but Im starting to see reviewers complaining about it a bit more…too many new bands popping up…too many second and third tier bands getting rereleases.. Stuff like that makes me think that we’re going to see interest start to go down over the next couple of years and something else will take its place.

            Beyond my personal tastes I think OSDM gets a pass because its still in the underground. Many of the re-thrash bands have gone on to wider acceptance to the point where you can even get them in the big chain stores. OSDM may be a trend in metal right now, but its still carries that outsider status thats important to so many metalheads

  3. I’m not defensive I just… don’t understand for the life of me how it seems a lot of the regular people who comment aren’t into thrash. ESPECIALLY on the merit of the vocals.

    • I chalk it up to pussies and girlie men. 🙂

      I can’t say I’m all that psyched about much of any of the newer thrash bands. But I still love and adore ARTILLERY. The new albums with Soren are good stuff (nothing will ever top Terror Squad & By Inheritence though).

      And if you can’t appreciate bands like Testament, Death Angel, old Exodus, etc. AT A BARE MINIMUM, then you probably should see a shrink or something.

      • And I’ll bet that alot of people who don’t like or care for thrash are the ones who enjoy:

        Lamb of God, Chimaria, Pantera, Trivium, and all that other drivel 🙂

        (Alot of European people I know that are big into the folk metal, none of them like thrash either)

        • The thrash bands nowadays that I do like are either complete throwback bands like Evile or bands who brought it into more relevancy by combining it with modern death metal and proggy aesthetics like Darkane (one of my favorite bands of all time).

        • Hey now…Im not a huge fan of Bay area style thrash….Mostly because of the vocals. I dont hate it though, and I definitely acknowledge the place it holds in creating death metal. Im not a huge fan of hardcore in general so shouted vocals put me off.

          That being said, German thrash absolutely kills. Kreator, Destruction, and especially Sodom all seem to walk that line where they could just as easily be blackend thrash. That makes all the difference to me

          • Yeah the German stuff is definitely more “rough around the edges”, which is why it took me a little while to get into way back then. Other bands that had a more melodic style of singing (Anthrax, Testament, Death Angel) were more gateway into the scene for me.

            But the Bay Area bands vocals I enjoy each of tose singers. Clean and melodic vocals done properly are heavy enough for me. When they start to get whiney/sappy/pussified is when it totally turns me off (Megashit, Shitallica)

            • See I came to metal through all the nu and cores bands so harsh vocals didnt take too long for me to adjust to. Now trying to go backwards and listen to classic thrash is tough because the music to me seems like it just needs harsh vocals. I enjoy clean vocals in things like traditional and Power Metal because it fits the music to my ears.
              It really is a matter of what just feels right for the music to me. I’d probably share a different view of it if I’d found metal sooner

              • It’s not that easy to go backwards. I always had somewhat of a hard time with it. A style of music or band is framed in your mind from the first thing you heard from them.

        • See, I rather like Lamb of God, the other two…. eh.

          The new thrash bands I really like tend to take the genre to new places. I’m thinking: Skeletonwitch, Revocation, Vektor and Exmortus (all of which released new records this year…)

          • Blah…groove metal (Pantera, LoG, Machine Head etc)..that style of music bores the hell out of me

            New thrash bands I like all tend toward the blackend end of things…and once again are pretty much all from Germany
            Ketzer, Witching Hour, Cruel Force, Nocturnal (also a fan of their lead singer..because man shes cute), Hellish Crossfire

            • Yeah she was walking around during MDF in tight leather pants talking with people. I should have got my “creep on” but wasn’t in that “mode” at the time. LOL

          • @BadWolf — I feel the same way, and would name the same bands as current thrash bands who are successfully taking thrash in new directions.

  4. I’m a HUGE thrasher, but no lie i never got this album. bought the re-issue, spun it once, and it still sits on my stereo box. they just seemed like a less cool version of Forbidden and Death Angel mixed.

  5. I don’t HATE thrash, it just doesn’t do much for me any more.

  6. Like the SurgicalBrute, I came to metal through the nus and the cores.

    So, thrash is like Disney princesses. I’d love to fuck them, but only if I could shove a pickle down their throat first to keep them from singing. Because you Jasmine and Belle and Maid Marien (the fox) would NOT shut the fuck up about how big your dick is or how much fun they want all over their tits.

    Wait…thrash. I love the music (especially the guitars), but not so much the vocals.

    And I would totally do Milan too.

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