(In this post Austin Weber reviews the new release by Finland’s Devouring Star, which is available now from Daemon Worship.)
When I first wrote about Devouring Star here at NCS last year, they were a newly formed act who drew my attention with a incredibly dense and chilling demo of unnerving and chaotic black metal. After my first post about them, they hooked up with Daemon Worship Productions for the release of a new album entitled Through Lung And Heart. and we were fortunate to premiere the track “Decayed Son Of Earth” last November (here). Coincidentally, NCS writer Badwolf likewise premiered another track off it, “To Traverse The Black Flame”, over at Invisible Oranges where he is currently that site’s editor.
For those still unfamiliar with Devouring Star, they are a Finnish act that draw a sizable influence from the stylings and form of black metal that Deathspell Omega founded. However, I would venture to say the inspiration has more to do with informing the sonic ingredients that Devouring Star use in their compositions than sounding like a copycat act or watered-down hero worship.
I for one am enamored with bands such as Devouring Star, as they showcase fresh new ways of twisting black metal, offering a different take on a style that often is too samey and traditional for my tastes. What’s equally impressive about Devouring Star and this material is that the band has only one member, who goes by JL, who conceived all of this madness by himself, though he did have some session musician help in making his tortured visions a reality.
While Through Lung And Heart is a dissonance-centered work of disgust that would logically seem to be the farthest thing from catchy, it somehow approaches a level of infectiousness and catchiness that few if any other bands with such a focus have attained. This oddball catchiness rears its head from the very start on opener “Sanctified Decomposition”, a near-10-minute sprawling song that starts in eerie subdued horrorscore fashion, then schizophrenically cascades back and forth from blasting to slower, almost doomy parts.
In between all that, some absolutely sickening grooves worm their way in that I can’t for the life of me get out of my head. Not to mention the truly haunting melody that floats like a ghost overtop in a weird counterpoint to some straight-ahead blasting in the second half of the song. It’s a hell of an opener that instantly shows you the many facets of Devouring Star combined in one epic, seamlessly flowing composition.
From there, the song we premiered at NCS, “Decayed Son Of Earth” comes in, a seething, aggressive track punctuated by swift and swamp-like dirge moments that give the song a very strange flow. The rest of the album continues to explore more combinations between racing chaos and slower despair.
I think what draws me in the most about Through Lung And Heart is how well it intertwines ideas and structures of both an unconventional and conventional nature into horrifying songs of sheer brilliance. That, and the fact (as mentioned earlier) that it’s somehow really damn catchy to the ear in spite of how fucking nasty and dark it sounds.
Devouring Star has shown considerable evolution in its sound from their nascent demo release, and I urge everyone to check it out if you want to hear a fresh and disturbing new take on black metal.
The album will be released February 1 on CD and vinyl; it’s available now in digital form on Bandcamp. All orders can be placed at the Bandcamp page linked below: