Track Premiere: Devenial Verdict – Sun Hammer


I hardly sun know ‘er!

You know you were gonna make that joke, and you know you needed to be stopped. Anyway, one thing we here at the Toilet like even more than dumb jokes is an opportunity to show off stuff from the labels we love, and Transcending Obscurity is most certainly one of those. Their offer to premiere “Sun Hammer” from the upcoming debut of Finnish death metallers Devenial Verdict came at a most opportune time, too, since I’d already prepared some words on Ash Blind for a feature about autumnal records. You’ll find said words below, along with the other available tracks from the record, which put more facets of the band’s sound on display.

The facet we’re focussing on with “Sun Hammer,” however, is rage. As one of the more straightforward tracks on the album, it puts unbridled ferocity front and center. Quoth the band:

“‘Sun Hammer’ marks the shift towards crushing hatred on the album. The mood of the album takes a 180 within its relentless riffs and furious blasts. It was a no-brainer to rework the song a bit since the themes of the song aligned with the other songs on the album.”

So before we explore what else the album has to offer, let the hammering commence:

On top of all the rage and hatred, however, the album might also be a good fit for your autumn mood.

While Devenial Verdict could be considered progressive death metal, I quite like the descriptor of “atmospheric death metal,” because atmosphere is what Ash Blind delivers in spades. To be precise, the record sits closer to the end of autumn; where it assaults you with purebred death metal, as you’ve just heard, it can feel like you’re being pelted by hail and shaken by cold winds, reminding you of the grim certainty of impending winter. Dissonant elements are partially to blame for this inhospitable feeling, yet both they and the quieter parts of the record also contribute to that autumnal atmosphere of somehow having slipped into a space that is locked off for the rest of the year.

The “FFO” section of the albums’s description lists Ulcerate, and while I don’t think the comparison should be given too much weight, there are moments where Devenial Verdict utilize dissonant elements to create a similarly “floaty” feeling that permeates the music of the kiwi heavyweights. I’m never sure when an Ulcerate song actually starts as it gives me so little traditional structure to hold on to, and while this air of unmoored uncertainty can be nice, it shines all the more when it’s used sparingly, as it is here. This way, when the dissonant chords ring out with their peculiar shimmer, it can almost leave you doubting reality, much as you might when you suddenly notice how beautifully odd and wondrous the light looks as it filters through multi-hued clouds.

The quieter moments often uphold this eerie feeling, mostly through a near-constant accompaniment by ambient synths (or so I assume, although no member is credited with synths). Apart from that, these parts lend themselves to pensive introspection. Undistorted, plucked chord progressions trail off as if they asked a question before starting again, and the bass guitar is prone to wander off as if it’s on a different train of thought, almost making these sections sound like a pondering inner monologue before the music rips you back into the here and now.

Ash Blind is ready to accompany you on walks through yellow and orange foliage on October 28th. Pre-order it here.


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