Review Summary: Death rock promenade at the cemetery.
It's somehow befitting that Relapse Records decided to compile and release the works of Pennsylvania's Devil Master just the morning after the night of the dead. Featuring members of Philadelphia death rock acts Blank Spell and Cape of Bats, Devil Master seems to function as a side project that encapsulates the best of both bands. Manifestations
is not the black metal punk disciples' newest material but a compilation of their past two years music: the remastered version of their first self-titled demo, released in 2016, and an EP titled Inhabit the Corpse
, published last year. For fans of the death rock, black metal tinged punk genre, this is a blessing. The two releases work wonders when combined, since the gritty, raw production for both is quite similar and the band’s style hasn't changed at all in these past two years.
Imagine undead Motorhead jamming with the Ramones and Mayhem in a forgotten tomb somewhere in Transylvania and you'll get a pretty good idea of the sound of Devil Master. First things first, the run from opener "The Devil Master…" to third track "Failure to Die" is uncut, which enhances the live feel of the recording (the beginning of the latter actually includes some almost inaudible audience voices, so this might very well be a live recorded demo unearthed by the label from some defiled grave). "Sex With Succubus" flirts with some good ol' heavy metal and is the perfect turning point before the tracks that form last year's EP are unleashed to satiate an otherwise excruciating thirst.
The 2017 EP, Inhabit the Corpse
, is just glued to the previous recording without flourishing production tricks, this is as crude as it gets. As the deranged piano of "Blood On My Shroud" bleeds its last notes, I can’t help but hovering my finger over the first track to start the ride one more time. Manifestations
' short runtime is as inviting as the Devil’s touch. Phantasmagorical growls and old school punk drum beats combine with the harsh sound of first wave black metal bands like Morbid or early Sodom to form a a frenzy rollercoaster on the nostalgia wagon. Hopefully this is not the last "manifestation" of the Devil Master, and some new material follows-up soon. I am, certainly, left wishing for more.