Monday, August 8, 2011

Deviser - Thy Blackest Love (The Early Years) (2003)

This is one of those compilations which might have been superb if the band, label, and any parties involved had only striven for further completion of the band's unattainable catalog. Basically, it collects the Greeks' Thy Blackest Love demo (1996) and 1999 promo together with a pair of unreleased songs. But then, the title itself is misleading, because it doesn't actually include the pair of demos they released in 1990, which would have solidified its value. It wouldn't have hurt either to add the rare Revelation of Higher Mysteries EP (1994), assuming they had the license. What's also curious is that much of the non-album material presented here is that of a more accessible, melodic and catchy Deviser. Not that such elements are foreign to their works Unspeakable Cults or Transmission to Chaos, but those albums tended to focus on complexity and convolution, where these tend to stick with a simple, fetching sequence or two throughout.

Thy Blackest Love is really only interesting for "2000 Years of Lies", since the other tracks ("The Fire Burning Bright", "Threnody") were included with Unspeakable Cults. It's a strong, straight charging melodic black metal track with loud, present bass and some minor keyboard symphony embellishments which arrive at the appropriate juncture. The 1999 promo material starts off in an almost pure Gothic/death metal direction ("Self Ignition"), but the production is pretty low-key. The songs seem to continue to accelerate throughout this, and "Turned to Stone" and "Descend Among the Damned" have great guitar melodies that would have worked out well on a studio album with a better mix. On the other hand, "Forbidden Knowledge" (named for one of their '90 demos) opens with a tremendous, melodic/doom sequence that reminds me of Swedes Tiamat around the turn of the century, before churning into some average black metal.

The last track, "Into the Unknown", is the crudest and least interesting of the lot, a death/thrash piece that cycles through a number of predictable riffs, with shoddy production that barely rates above a jam room rehearsal. In summation, though, the real flaw with the compilation is that it's just not complete enough. More could have been fit after the 32 minutes, whether that be some live content or the aforementioned demos. You know, the actual 'Early Years' hinted by the title. That said, this is not all suck, and fans into the band's versatile elements on the full-lengths will uncover a partial treat or two here. But for anyone new to Deviser, I'd advise heading straight for Transmission to Chaos, their crowning achievement.

Verdict: Indifference [5.25/10]

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