I got my Sennheiser HD 280 pro’s on; I press play, there’s a crescendoing guitar battle developing. I’m at home. The instrumentals bring in the atmosphere of the album as a whole; that’s readily heard during ‘Apex’, the opening track to Devolver‘s self-titled debut LP.
The drumming finds a way to pound at your heart from beginning to end; the guitars will come in and sweep you off your feet when you least expect it. Take ‘Fortress’ for example, a soothing acoustic riff morphs from innocence to turmoil with a snap of a finger. A familiar voice emerges on ‘Stillness’ when Anthony Notarmaso from After the Burial takes the mic on what could be the finest song on the album. The layers of tones, vocals, and relentless drums mount a foundation allowing this song to go where ever it wants, and it does just that. Devolver has surprises around every corner, none more evident than ‘Exordium’. An elegant composition of piano and strings allows them to sit back and cleanse your pallet for the closing effort, ‘Devolver’, which assaults you with racing drums, raging riffs and profound vocals, while ending with a delicate piano piece just to add a cherry to the top of this metal sundae.
Devolver makes use of a revolving door of local vocalists, displaying some of the best talents that Northen Alberta has to offer and while being an independent band, the album has a polished, crisp mix. “I hold the future; I hold the key” is proclaimed in ‘Renewal’, and perhaps they do hold just that. It’s crazy to think what a follow-up album would have in store just by building off the foundation laid by themselves in these efforts.
Devolver’s Self-Titled debut does what a lot of bands in their genre fail to do, and that’s to keep the listener invested. From the opening to the closing track, you get variety. It’s a melting pot of the music that this band grew up loving. Devolver uses melodies, intensity, and a variety of vocalists to hook you, reeling you from song to song making this such a welcoming and comfortable listen. I don’t mean they’re “easy listening,” there heavy as f***, I mean there’s always something different, you’ll never get bored while diving into this debut.
I would put Devolver up against any metal debut album of 2016 and yell, “Beat this!”