Devotion- Astral Catacombs CD on Memento Mori Rec.

$ 12.00

The astounding 3rd full-length by this Spanish band. Devotion are an exemplary study in patience and persistence. Formed in 2012 near Valencia, the band have gone through myriad lineups, but have parceled out their recordings when the time was right, for maximum impact and immersion. Their debut album, "Necrophiliac Cults", came in 2015, but its year of release might as well have been 1993; Devotion are nothing if not devoted to the timeless archetype provided by Death Metal during its early 90´s heyday. But while many years would pass until its follow-up arrived, in 2021, "The Harrowing" was indeed aptly titled: split between "chants" and "dirges", the Spaniards put on a masterclass in putrid, mid-tempo crush with memorability for miles. Consistent yet different enough, Devotion between the two albums might´ve had power-trio and quintet lineups, respectively, but the path was nevertheless deliberate and (d)evolved. Arriving quite "quickly" for their standards, the revamped-yet-again Devotion arrive all guns blazing with their third opus, "Astral Catacombs". Another perfectly titled recording, "Astral Catacombs" is rich in atmosphere and crunch alike, taking their all-caps Death Metal one ladder-rung up and down that evolutionary scale. Their characteristic tank-rolling sound heads toward some truly vile paths here, almost bestial in its slaughtering impulses, moving ominously and measuredly despite the near-primal ferocity; on the same hand, a pronounced emphasis on their classy side arises, namely in the well-timed and well-composed soloing, but also particularly in their songwriting movement. It´s a unique balance/tradeoff that slowly-yet-surely shows stunning growth on Devotion´s part, lending "Astral Catacombs" immediate replayability to catch every (crooked) nuance and (skewed) dynamic. Put another way, we can look to the band´s primary influences of Bolt Thrower, Grave or Morgoth for precedents: Bolt Thrower´s transition from "The IVth Crusade" to "...For Victory", for example, or Grave´s from "You´ll Never See..." to "Soulless", or especially Morgoth´s from "Cursed" to "Odium". If none of that sounds palatable or enticing, then "Astral Catacombs" is not for you! Graced with suitably ethereal cover art courtesy of Naroa Etxebarria, "Astral Catacombs" crowns Devotion´s trifecta of streamlined brilliance.