We have already written extensively about the new album Ersetu by the Italian death metal band Devangelic, just as we did about their previous releases. In this case, in addition to praising individual songs that have been previewed in the progress toward the album’s release, we published an enthusiastic review by our friend Vonlughlio, who summed it up as “a mandatory release for every brutal death metal fan”: These guys know their craft supremely well and have taken the time to create something special in their music that will pass the test of time”.
And indeed, despite how impressive Devangelic‘s first two albums were (2014’s Resurrection Denied and 2017’s Phlegethon), they have managed to elevate their music to an even higher (and more nuanced) plane of brutality with Ersetu. We are thus very excited to present a full stream of the record for you now, in advance of its May 15 release by Willowtip Records.
Ersetu is a concept album that’s based on the Annunaki’s myth “Those Who from Heaven to Earth Came.” The album itself is the Akkadian term for “Mesopotamian Underworld / Realm of the Dead,” and the myth explores a theory of creation that both draws upon Sumerian myth and explores speculations about alien DNA, human slavery, and the legend of the great serpent (the Knower) as the emblem of Enki and of two of his sons, Ningishzidda and Marduk.
For those who might be familiar with such tales of ancient alien astronauts appearing as gods to primitive peoples and involving themselves in the advance of human civilization, you know it’s wild stuff, but if possible, Devangelic‘s music is even wilder.
Take “Eyes of Abzu”, for example, which was one of the singles released as an album preview. It’s commonplace to say that rapid-fire snare attacks sound like machine-guns. But the snare-drum performance in this song REALLY sounds like a machine-gun. Lots of other things about the song resemble modern armaments being wielded in manic and uber-brutal fashion. The full-throttle, rampaging and jackhammering sensations of the music get a contrasting element when a dismal and diseased lead slowly slithers through the machine-precise mayhem, and the vocals are utterly disgusting and maniacally unhinged.
The brutalizing assaults mounted in that song are repeated in breathtaking fashion across the ravaging course of these roughly 30 minutes. Devangelic amalgamate blistering and enormously electrifying drumwork, thunderous bass lines, slaughtering riffs, and a maniacal tandem of gruesome, guttural roars and demented, hair-on-fire screams. But in addition to delivering stunning displays of full-bore barbarism, the band constantly display jaw-dropping technical mastery, discharging cyclones of fret-leaping extravagance and eye-popping kit-work.
As spectacularly murderous and head-spinning as the music is, however, Devangelic also succeed in infiltrating their war-zone pyrotechnics with eerie yet electrifying melodies, especially in the paranormal soloing, which channel off-planet alien-ness, consistent with the album’s conceptual themes. The gliding fluidity of those gleaming, reverberating solos and other melodic accents creates a contrast in pacing with the torrential fury of everything else, while also adding an atmospheric component that is frighteningly weird, and sometimes ominously majestic.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to the machine-gun quality of the snare attack, the band add bone-breaking, slam-like grooves — delivering them with just as much speed and intensity as everything else. It sounds like a nuclear-powered pile-driver at work.
The band also wisely made both the songs, and the album as a whole, compact. And the result is that neither the individual tracks nor the album wear out their welcome. They will leave listeners electrified rather than exhausted. They will also leave you black-and-blue and smiling through broken teeth. Being eviscerated and beaten to a pulp never felt so good.
Devangelic comments on the album: “We worked hard during the past two years to create our best songs; the new effort is certainly our most brutal and mature material to date. The concept, music and lyrics represent a new chapter of the band’s career and on what DEVANGELIC will move on with the future releases.”
The record was created with top-shelf help: It was produced and mixed at 16th Cellar Studio in Rome with the fabulous Stefano “Saul” Morabito (and drums were recorded at Ex-Oblivion Studio in Oristano with Fabrizio “Xul” Sanna); and it was mastered at Hertz Recording Studio (Poland) by Wieslawski Wojciech.
Last but certainly not least, Nick Keller created the stunning cover art, and Jon Zig crafted Devangelic‘s logo.
Willowtip Records will release Ersetu on May 15, on CD and digital formats.