I have had a soft spot in my heart for Deivos for a very long time — though I also have some soft spots in my head as a result of these Polish destroyers caving it in every time they come out with another album. The new one is no exception, though they again demonstrate that brute-force trauma is only one of the impacts that their music leaves upon the listener.
In fact, their formulation of death metal is just enough outside the mainstream savagery of what you usually find (and is so well-executed) to make them distinctive, although perhaps their resistance to “fitting in” with trends is a reason why (in my opinion) they haven’t gotten nearly enough recognition despite plying their craft for 20 years and creating a discography that’s now six albums deep.
The new full-length is Casus Belli, and the Polish label Selfmadegod Records will be releasing it on November 29th. If you’re looking for something to be thankful for on this day before Thanksgiving, the full album stream we’re about to present should amply satisfy your search.
To be sure (and this will come as no surprise to long-time fans), jet-speed brutality is a mainstay in Casus Belli, fortified by the kind of jaw-dropping technical agility that brings to mind such bands as Suffocation, Cryptopsy, and Decapitated at their most turbocharged and hyper-athletic zeniths.
The drum battery is blazing-fast and often represents a vivid facsimile of war-zone destructiveness, while the rock-crushing bass tones create a bone-mangling complement to the explosive drumwork. There’s also a livid, pulsating quality to much of the riffing, as well as plenty of moments of interesting rhythmic interplay among all the instruments. But another hallmark of the album are the eruptions of start-stop, mechanistic jackhammering that you can feel in your spine.
These displays of technical exuberance come at you as fast as greased lightning, and are as wild as a pack of rabid wolves, but so tightly integrated that the band turn on a dime with breathtaking agility, veering from riff to riff, from rhythm to rhythm, and from tempo to tempo with seeming abandon — but following meticulously crafted blueprints, even if the designs might seem to have been made by sadistic mad scientists.
And speaking of madness, the songs include guitar solos that aren’t par for the course in such brutalizing death metal. Also usually executed at light-speed, they are serious face-melters, and remarkably fluid as well as freakishly insane. At times they provide sharp contrasts to the pile-driving grooves behind them, and at others they help send the music into paroxysms of sheer volcanic mayhem.
There are no weak links in this line-up. The vocals of Hubert Banach are just as ferocious as everything else. He delivers mind-scorching tirades that seem bestial, imperious, and completely enraged, all at the same time, with his texts on this album relating tales of man as the destroyer of everything he touches, be it for religious, political, or selfish reasons. As he has told us in connection with the lyrics and the album title: “You are the reason for this war. This is the Casus Belli presage of our Bitter End after the Nuclear Wind will blow us away.”
Banach has also commented to us that this album is “darker than before”, and that’s true. It also brings up another aspect of Casus Belli, and of Deivos as a band, that’s important. While technically eye-popping brutality is their main line, the songs do have melodic accents (as well as rhythmic variations) that tend to give them each their own character — and those accents are indeed dark, in keeping with the lyrical themes.
Eerie, wailing leads appear in vaporous fashion within the thunderous grooves of “Parallel Gods”, along with ominous groaning chords and grand blasts of melody that create an element of bleak and harrowing atmosphere. Together with the bursts of circle-saw viciousness in the riffs of “Bitter End” (and the spiraling, shrieking solo), you’ll encounter an increasingly slowed-down, and almost stately pacing, and music that creates an aura of sinister foreboding, while the lead-in to “Ataraxy” is heavy and bruising, and channels a kind of bleak grandeur.
These, of course, aren’t the only instances in which Deivos create variations in their bludgeoning momentum. The syncopated cow-bell rhythm and mountainous bass gouging at the outset of “Nuclear Wind” is a personal favorite, and the swirling riff that comes in is also seductive — before the band start jolting, jabbing, darting, and ejecting bursts of spiraling lunatic fretwork. And in the album closer, “Prayer Of Disavowed”, the song’s mid-tempo destructiveness is leavened with grim melody that very effectively conveys visions of terrible, apocalyptic downfall.
And finally, Casus Belli was produced with an astute mix of clarity and power, playing to the band’s strengths. In short, it’s a strong addition to a formidable discography by Deivos, and comes highly recommended.
The cover art for Casus Belli was made by Maciej Kamuda, who has also created cover art for such bands as Kingdom, Sleep, Coffins, Pathology, Impetigo, Straight Hate, and Parricide. Selfmadegod Records will release the album on CD, including a limited boxed edition, and digital formats on November 29th. You can place pre-orders now, at these locations: