posted on 2/2008 By:
As has been moderately publicized, Devian is a spankin' new band, helmed by former Marduk mercs Legion and Emil (vocals and drums, respectively). On this debut album, they spread their wings a bit wider than their previous outfit allowed. The span of Ninewinged Serpent encompasses blackened death, churning thrash, and an ever-so-slight Gothenburg tendency. But there is no experimentation or wildness found herein; they don't jump all nimbly-bimbly from genre-to-genre. Rather, they clump them into an amalgative attack that is as straightforward as it is unimpressive.
Channeling a half-stoned God Dethroned in some moments, a declawed offspring of Naglfar and Defleshed in others, there's nothing particularly exciting about the band's style or delivery. Despite their pedestrian take on blackened metal, these veterans show their songwriting skill via writing catchy, breathable anthems. The title track is a prime example of this, with its monstrous chorus and impressive knack for acute melodicism. However, this is a rare standout. As expertly as each of these tracks are crafted, they are barely distinguishable from one another, a fualt that can be partially blamed on a lackluster attack mode.
Instead of violently slicing for the jugular, Devian prefers to thunk away with a detuned snarl. Aside from the aforementioned title track and the adrenalized "Instigator", there's a serious lack of urgency here. The (apparently) thrash-inspired guitar work simply doesn't have the impact that it should, especially when stacked against the razor-sharp output of some of their peers. Legion's vocals are front-and-center, and he's still as distinct as ever...but it's not 1996 anymore, people. Whatever creative fire was stoked within these guys to create this band simply does not translate to record; they just aren't pissed off enough, effectively crippling its attempt at being a beastly neckwrecker.
Ninewinged Serpent is chock-full of catchy, similar songs that, oddly, will both fail to command attention and get stuck in your head. Featuring some solid lead work and forgettable riffs, this is a decent little burst of extreme metal casserole, but nothing more. Highly doubtful that anyone will remember this album when 2008 comes to a close, much less when it is sitting in the clearance bin a few years down the road.
If they set their phasers to "kill" next time around, then I'll be stunned.
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