Song Review: Devastator – ‘Unconscious’

Song Review: Devastator – ‘Unconscious’

Song: Unconscious
Band/Artist: Devastator
Location: Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Release: 24/11/2013
Genre: Rap/Metal
Reviewer: Thall + STAUNCHDAD

Thall: Rap and Metal have always been a recurring combo throughout the late 20th century pushing through to the present day. Fusions haven’t always been as successful as Goku + Vegeta. Despite every few larger bands that break the system – there are a plethora of unsuccessful bands that vanish to obscurity. For this song review I have decided to review it conjoined with my father (STAUNCHDAD) because ol’ mate Staunch has heard and seen the music industry change multiple times with his 40 years experience on Earth. I also believe that what bands like Devastator are presenting are a potential pathway for 21st Century compositions. To review it with someone who from previous generations/cycles and has seen much more of musical change than any of my current friends – I feel his opinion will be valid.

The Vocals

STAUNCHDAD: Well at least this doesn’t sound like another million other bands that lack originality that appear in droves around the world. You gotta take risks in life and this is a prime example. These guys have decided to do something different and because of it they are getting attention. They are getting exposure, they are making people talk about them. I am even talking about them. I wish more bands did something different and take calculated risks. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and you have to beat the system. The rapping with the metal is something that is a rough diamond that can be polished. It is innovative, refreshing and can access a whole new audience of listeners just like Jazz, Rock n’ Roll and Electronic music have done before… These sub-genres are possibly going to turn to genres soon enough.

The vocals take some time to adjust… It is rather extreme straight away to just showcase a song with two polar genres (metal and rap) with no middle-ground. In my opinion there maybe should have been some screaming/singing in the mix of things to just make foreign listeners settle into this new territory. However then again, I couldn’t hear a simple looped hip-hop beat over the top of some screaming. I hope that isn’t a thing…

Thall: Now I have had more familiarity with this rap/metal/djent (especially djent) crossover with bands like Hacktivist and Novelists incorporating rap in their music. When I first heard this I didn’t anticipate the vocal style to be like this. In fact at first I said ‘This bloke doesn’t sound like a whiny pommy bastard’. He honestly sounds Australian, not over the top like Hilltop Hoods or Dibe but the vocalist has his own unique texture to his flow. However the rapping is the chalk and cheese it is obviously going to be jarring to a majority.

However if Devastator was doing what every single other band in the genre was doing and just putting rough vocals soaring through the mix, this would probably cop equal amount of slack from the public saying ‘hurr durr generic’. Vocal styles are just like the beauty in women. No matter if you like the complexion of a woman from Barcelona or the ass of a woman from Brasilia, they may be different on the outside with different types of beauty yet they all can contain the same traits on the inside. The rawness of the rapping still strikes as much intimidating fear as a pulsating fry scream would despite the different aesthetic texture.

The lyrics are lengthy and plentiful. This is something fresh to me being a listener of metal who is acclimatised to repetition, lengthened rhythmic patterns, random ‘Bleghs!’, repetition, ‘ohhhhhh!’ and more repetition. The chorus however is somewhat a breakaway that allows me to adapt to a safe-spot and just prepare to pounce out ‘YOU ARE OBLIVIOUS, BECOME AWARE!’. Most of the time I am just zoning out and letting the dude spray his words and just let him say what he has to say… the swearing is not over the top and is well placed at crucial parts. Every time he said ‘fuck’ you truly felt every consonant just stabbing you in the chest. The emotional side of the rapping is really well composed with some epic alterations and I can totally respect this.

The Instrumentation

Thall: Honestly there is no reinventing the wheel here. The music reminds me of the same tones from the first Vildhjarta EP with that twangy, effect driven clean tone sustaining the atmosphere for the chugs… and the Thall. As you can tell by my alias name on here… I luv muh djent, djent is like muh family. AND I LOVE VILDHJARTA. Honestly these guys nailed the basic foundations of the metal side of things and the pace could pull off well to be a B-Side Vildhjarta song. Obviously it doesn’t have that spooky vibe you get when listening to Maastaden but Devastator also incorporate a rather interesting bouncy Strayacore vibe that you’d find in fellow Aussie contemporaries Northlane, The Storm Picturesque and The Ocean The Sky. Nothing ground-breaking but nothing up in the clouds to not give a shit about.

The structure of the song is instrumentally driven with a fluctuation of soft and heavy parts. This can be rather faulty due to constant transitions however with the vocals assisting – the structure of the song works well and is solid. For a five and a half minute song, there are some rather interesting parts scattered all over with crucial linking parts in between to help solidify the song. Not once did I feel dozy and want to close the tab, Devastator are helping provide diversity in a genre that can easily be carbon-copied pretty damn easily.

STAUNCHDAD: This is legit Northlane with rapping. I can’t say much on this… Tesseract are pretty cool…

Thall: Devastator’s music may not be appreciated to its full extent right now, in fact it is a total risk and is ballsy. However give it a few years or perhaps a decade and maybe this somewhat ‘genre taboo’ as called by elitists will be an aural norm. It would be interesting to hear an album of it… just to know what else they can do in terms of diversity and originality. I think the future is promising for Devastator personally if they just keep it up. Also thanks to my dad for adding a couple paragraphs of his opinion.

Combined Rating

Vocals – 8.5/10
Guitars: 7/10
Bass: Guitars/10
Drums: 7.5/10
Production: 9/10
Lyrics: 9/10
Songwriting: 10/10
Overall IPHYB Rating: 8/10
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 7.5/10 – STAUNCHDAD: Would I listen to this again? Probably not. Would I see it live? Probably out of curiousity. Thall: If I ever need to listen to something different. This would be somewhere in a playlist.

Song Review: Devastator – ‘Unconscious’
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