Conjurers Of Cruelty
Review by Vladimir on January 25, 2024.
Black/thrash metal has always been one of my personal favorite forms of extreme metal subgenre, combining best of both worlds when it comes to oldschool black and thrash metal. Funnily enough, I don’t even recall coming across any lackluster or tasteless bands in this branch, because it is quite often dominated by three things: fucking, speed and darkness! A couple of years ago, I discovered an amazing band Devastator from Derby, England through the YouTube channel of their bassist and vocalist Nachtghul, who covered a lot of my all-time favorite songs from various artists. The band already put out their debut Baptised In Blasphemy back in 2020, however, they would return even stronger and more triumphant than ever in 2024. Devastator is set to release their second full-length album Conjurers Of Cruelty on March 1st, 2024 via Listenable Records, which has been previously teased with two singles, 'Ritual Abuse (Evil Never Dies)' and 'Liar In Wait'. If you are by any chance a massive black-thrashing maniac, hungry for blood, fire and death, then you might want to stick with me on this one, because you are about to witness one of the absolute pinnacles of this subgenre.
The sounds of rain, church bells, eerie open string riffs and drum fade-ins open up the album with the first track 'Beyond The Gate', as somber and dread prepare the listener for the following title track, 'Conjurers Of Cruelty'. From here on out, it’s uncompromising and merciless black/thrash attack with headbanging heavy tremolo riffs with some black rock and roll here and there, dynamic drumming that incorporates standard thrash metal beats and walk breaking double-bass drumming, along with some sick harsh singing vocals. Instances of some punk rock energy are evident on the third track 'Black Witchery', combined with the predominant black-thrashing that is the centerfold of this album. This album really does not take a break from ultra headbanging moments, as it really starts ripping on 'Walpurgisnacht' with d-beat drumming and riffing that’s ripping it all the way through like hot knife through steel, while also throwing in some amazing guitar solos. Beside the established musical formula, they also found some space to use a bit of eerie atmospheric black metal with open string chords, evident on 'Deathspell Defloration', which on the first half breaks away from the overall album template by incorporating a slower tempo, until it decides to kick the chair and go back into action on the other half of the song. Other great banger tunes on this album that will really get your blood boiling and quench your bloodthirst is the eight track 'Bestial Rites', 'Sharpen The Blade', 'Rabid Morbid Death' and 'Ritual Abuse (Evil Never Dies)' which has some amazing acoustic guitar parts in a very flamenco-like fashion. This beast of an album ends on a high note with the closing track 'Rabid Morbid Death', with the last tremolo picking riff, guitar melodies and solos, double-bass drumming, with the final part slowly fading into black to let you know that this magnificent ritualistic symphony of blood, fire and death has come to a closure and that this is the end…Or is it? Well, it entirely depends on which album version you are listening to, because you also have two amazing bonus tracks that come in the CD version, 'Liar In Wait' and 'Death Forever', which do not leave the fans disappointed with extra content such as this.
The songwriting on this album is quite dynamic, pushing the black/thrash metal performance beyond its limits and making every second count, down to every last riff that leaves no prisoners breathing. During my listening, I often felt that this album is like a love child of Watain and Aura Noir in terms of the overall execution and the atmosphere, or perhaps a perfect combination of album such as "Lawless Darkness", "Envoy Of Lucifer", "With Primeval Force", "Power From Hell" and "Black Thrash Attack", with some icing on the cake and cherry on the top to spice things up even more. As a friend of mine would say out loud from his guts “METAL PIZDA TI MATERINA”, this is exactly how I would sum up this album as a whole. The highlight of this album is that once it comes to the end, it certainly feels like a worthy pay off that leaves no head unbanged, even with the aforementioned bonus tracks on the CD version that only give you plenty more to enjoy. I also admire the cover art a lot, as the visual representation really matches the tone of the album with its greyish purple tone mixed with black, giving a bit of a vibe of albums by excellent bands such as Power From Hell and Mortuary Drape. The sound production is also pretty stellar, with a very pristine and top-notch sound that only amps up the band’s performance, especially for a modern day black/thrash metal album.
From the moment I pressed play, I knew there was no turning back and it instantly hit me with the title track, headbanging like a bloody maniac hungry for some speed and fucking darkness. This was one of my most highly anticipated albums that I couldn’t wait to give it a listen, and I am so glad that I did. While I was listening to this album, I often felt like I was taken back in time when I first heard other black/thrash metal masterpieces like Nifelheim’s self-titled debut, Aura Noir’s "Black Thrash Attack", Ketzer’s "Satan’s Boundaries Unchained' and Desaster’s "Tyrants Of The Netherworld", and I would definitely say Conjurers Of Cruelty deserves to share a spot with those aforementioned albums. Devastator made one beast of an album that will be very difficult to top by any other album within the same subgenre, especially since this one went all in by saying “give them hell” and so they did. I always said that in the black/thrash metal movement, there is simply no space for pretentiousness and hipster mentality in this kind of subgenre, because it is all about pure aggression, hate and destruction. Be sure to check out Conjurers Of Cruelty, this album is an “all killer no filler”, and just a superb work of extreme metal art.
Rating: 9.8 out of 10497