Devangelic – Ersetu Review

[Cover art by Nick Keller]

If you’ve been paying attention to the goings on here at Last Rites (but why would you?), you might have noticed that we’ve had a rebirth of brutal death metal. Last year brought brilliant gems from Devourment and Organectomy, as well as some brutal-slam-adjacent albums such as Disentomb’s The Decaying Light. This year we’ve got a Defeated Sanity album on the horizon (and in our inboxes), as well as a Cordyceps debut to feed Cap’s mushroom obsession. But, most importantly for 2020, we’ve got a Devangelic’s Ersetu, their third, which shoves the band into somewhat self-proclaimed Nile territory. From the beautiful cover art to the sweeping thirty-two minute expanse that is their relentless assault, Ersetu makes it clear that Devangelic are entering a new territory of eliteness.

Named after the Akkadian term for the underworld (Mesopotamia in the house!), Ersetu represents the band’s first serious dive into the world of concept albums—that concept being human creation, alien DNA (‘sup Illuminati), subsequent human slavery and the legend of the Great Serpent. And let me tell you something about this Great Serpent—he likes his slams heavy, brutal and unrelentingly pounding. Although somewhat short in run time (never a bad thing), Devangelic’s third LP makes a serious dent in the competition with its swift and decisive attack.

Release date: May 15, 2020. Label: Willowtip
The band touts that Ersetu represents their best and most brutal work to date. For once, it’s quite easy to simply agree with them. “Eyes of Abzu” provides a dramatic opening of guitar feedback before absolutely vicious drums roll and chop their way to the foreground, unleashing a brutal all-out assault upon the subjugated humans. At just over three minutes, the track is succinct and shows the band has put serious effort into editing these songs down to their best aspects. Despite its brevity, “Eyes of Abzu” provides more than a few ebbs and flows, allowing the band to scale back and then quickly dial up the brutality. And hey, they even have room for a massive breakdown.

Another album highlight is the seventh track (probably some numerical significance here) “Vomiting the Infected,” which is very fun to type. Opening with some recognizable sampling (more on that later), it quickly becomes apparent just how much this band is capable of fitting into a three-minute composition. Of course there is unrelenting brutality, but beyond that the band has subtle touches of flare where they pull back in brief lulls, allowing the guitars to sing their metallic shrieks and their catacomb-deep vocals to push forward as a rallying cry. Hell, there’s even a breakdown that will find you dropping to your knees to headbang until you accidentally smack your head into the wooden floor and bleed out, only to have your neighbors find your rotted corpse a few weeks down the road.

The Nile comment can’t go uncompleted (mostly because our own Danhammer will murder me). You might notice some familiar samples emanating from the background of Ersetu. Yes, those are the very same samples from Nile’s massive debut Amongst the Catacombs of Nephen-Ra. And no, we don’t think this is a bad thing. First off, Nile fucking rules, and if you’re going to rock out with the Mesopotamian brutality, you might as well let the world know that you’re aware of Nile. Second, Ersetu is good enough to mark a potential pivot towards greatness for Devangelic. Thus, borrowing from Nile’s debut might announce to the world that they are reborn, albeit with alien DNA, and now reborn into slavery serving the alien overlords. Regardless, it’s important to point out that paying homage to Nile does not equate to copying, ripping off or stepping on the toes of Nile. More Nile and Nile-like bands is a GREAT thing. That was proven by Nile’s most recent Vile Nilotic Rites and Devangelic’s Ersetu, which, if you’re paying attention, is the album we’ve been discussing for the past couple minutes.

Look, you clearly like metal. And you clearly thought the album cover was neat. And you clearly trust me to some extent. And finally, you clearly know that Devangelic is going to enhance your day, month, quarantine, life and certainly your death as you cross the River Hades to the Euphrates Gates of Zion.

Posted by Manny-O-Lito

Infinitely committed to the expansion of artistic horizons. Very interested in hearing your grandparent's anecdotes & recipes. @mannyowar

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