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Mutilation Rites - "Devoid" (CD/EP)

Mutilation Rites - "Devoid" CD/EP cover image

"Devoid" track listing:

1. Goliath (6:46)
2. Pariah (7:17)
3. White Death (5:21)
4. Negative Space (5:45)

Reviewed by on March 31, 2012

"When the band is running full speed, it’s like a recreation of the film “Unstoppable” in sonic form. When they enter into more controlled tempos, the catchiness hiding behind the noise rises up and takes claim of the album."

Mutilation Rites emerged from the deep black metal scene that NYC has been boasting the past five years. Recently signed to Prosthetic Records, and releasing their debut album in May, the band gives a sampling of what to expect with the “Devoid” EP. The four songs present have been around in some shape or form for years now, originally coming from demos and splits. This is black metal without the shoegaze or post-rock influences; instead, Mutilation Rites writes hair-raising, static misery that is a welcomed taste of what their first album could churn out.

The band can run through tremolo-picked riffs and over-anxious blast beats with the best of the genre, but that’s not enough to win over a listener who has heard bands for the past 20-plus years doing the same thing. That’s why Mutilation Rites does right for their music by keeping the tempos all over the map. At first seeming like a one-trick pony, “Goliath” transitions to a feedback-drenched break straight into a crawling pace.

The second half of the EP is where the band slows down, and does so with rapacious delight. The bass, which could be faintly heard on the first two songs, now bursts onto the music. Melody, though blackened and torched, starts to show up, and that makes “White Death” and “Negative Space” catchier than material of this style usually is. The blasting drums dissipate, and a few nifty guitar harmonies on “Negative Space” are not easy to resist humming. Mutilation Rites is adept at the conventional style, but “White Death” and “Negative Space” prove the versatility of the four members.

For an EP, “Devoid” is loaded with content that is worth more than one listen. When the band is running full speed, it’s like a recreation of the film “Unstoppable” in sonic form. When they enter into more controlled tempos, the catchiness hiding behind the noise rises up and takes claim of the album. It’s a pairing that is hard to hate from anybody who calls black metal the soundtrack to their life. The last two songs are stronger than the first two, but the EP provides listeners with an idea of what could come from Mutilation Rites’s debut.

Highs: Way catchier than anticipated, different dimensions to the band beyond tremolo-picked riffs and blasting, does the job of setting the tone for their upcoming debut album

Lows: Second half is more memorable than the first half, feels a little unfocused during the faster moments

Bottom line: A compelling EP of black metal that is a small taste of what's to come from Mutilation Rites.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)