Devar are, without a doubt, an unusual band. Provided with miserly 4/10 review from a certain monthly metal magazine who previously awarded 9/10 to Metallica’s ‘St Anger’ and yet 6/10 to Opeth’s ‘Still life’ and yet still claim to know what they are talking about it is perhaps a pertinent moment for a re-assessment.
Opening with a suitably moody intro (‘The siren’) before launching announcing their real arrival with ‘H.M.H’, Devar clearly work with elements of Cradle of Filth’s sound but with a more hard-rock approach augmenting their deathly overtones and a vocal performance that ranges from a brutal roar to a more melodic approach that brings to mind Danzig amongst others. ‘Cold slither’ is next, coupling a vicious double bass assault with furious guitars and a curious vocal that comes sharply into focus when the guitarist suddenly unveils a Pink Floyd-esque solo and the music shifts gear into a mid-tempo groove somewhat at odds to the opening, but which works well thanks to the band’s musical skill. It’s a lengthy track that holds the imagination and interest thanks to its own sense of invention and the fact that this band sound different to anything else on offer at the moment. ‘Shadow feline’ is a moody, slow-burner of a track that opens with a stop/start guitar riff and spidery bass before the band kick in on the chorus to create an air of gothic intensity. ‘Scourger’ opens with a beautifully rendered guitar intro, once again emphasising the gothic feel on the album, before the vocals appear sounding more fragile than on the more straight- up metal tracks. ‘Black 6’ maintains this quieter approach, but with a heavy guitar riff underpinning the more string-laden elements.
‘The dirge’ is exactly that, with Devar’s increasingly unconventional vocals giving way to a storming metal riff that takes the listener by surprise. ‘…of my dead skull’ returns to the raging metal of the first track, but is then offset by a clattering drum ‘n’ bass interlude which fits in far better than one might imagine. ‘Watch them fly’ is another track that opens softly, and builds slowly to reveal its strengths bit by bit. Final track ‘Sanity’ relies on more electronic elements than previous tracks to create a dark, brooding soundscape that proves to be the perfect album closer, recalling Joy Division with its air of gloom and latent menace.
Devar are a refreshing premise, a heavy metal band not afraid to incorporate elements from all manner of disparate styles to create music that is satisfyingly different. It is true that Devar’s voice is unusual, and that might put some people off, but if you are prepared to approach this interesting record with an open mind you will surely be rewarded.