This is the debut album from Finnish death metallers Devenial Verdict.
Containing an ex-member of Hooded Menace, Ash Blind provides the listener with 44 minutes of atypical death metal. The promo blurb recommends this for fans of acts such as Ulcerate, Aeviterne, Morbid Angel, Mithras, and Blut Aus Nord, which is a good place to start from when approaching Ash Blind. To this list I’ll also add older Rivers of Nihil and Gojira.
The music of Devenial Verdict can be dissonant and harsh, yet it also carries strong elements of mood and atmosphere. These latter aspects of the band’s sound are integral to Ash Blind‘s success. There is a good helping of raw brutality here, but this is pressed into the service of the band’s overarching vision, which is to craft atmospheric soundscapes from melodic texture, shimmering post-metal, and emotive colour. It may not sound like death metal from that description, but it is, and Devenial Verdict do well with their idiosyncratic take on the style.
The songs merge aggressive intensity with expansive sonic vistas. Progressive and post-metal ingredients allow the band to have a wider reach than that of your typical death metal act, while a core of jagged riffs and crushing heaviness keeps things from ever becoming something that strays too far from death metal. The paradox of Ash Blind essentially being both death metal and not is part of what makes it such a strong record. The lack of resolution to this is a good thing, allowing the band to roam where they please, taking in brutal punishment one moment, an atmospheric soundscape the next, and then both simultaneously. Devenial Verdict have impressed greatly.
Ash Blind is a work of great depth and substance. Containing real moments of beauty and affecting darkness, (neither of which are commonly said about death metal), Ash Blind is an exceptional record from start to finish.
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