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Adjust The Sun - "Devouring Worlds" (CD)

Adjust The Sun - "Devouring Worlds" CD cover image

"Devouring Worlds" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Dead Light
3. Mechanical
4. Pressure From The Crossroads
5. Down
6. The Mask
7. The Remote Controlled Walkthrough
8. Inner Autumn

Reviewed by on October 18, 2012

"It’s a shiver down your spine, a cold hand caressing the back of your neck, an atmospheric pulse of intense, pure melody and melancholy in the gothic vein of Crematory, Insomnium, and Moonspell."

The band may have taken a thrash-and-burn Swedish melodic death tune as its namesake, but German act Adjust The Sun takes an overall different approach to metal than the Hypocrisy classic “Adjusting The Sun” suggests. Debut album “Devouring Worlds” lives up to its title in subtler ways than blast beats, breakdowns, or furious shredding, little of which you’ll find here. It’s a shiver down your spine, a cold hand caressing the back of your neck, an atmospheric pulse of intense, pure melody and melancholy in the gothic vein of Crematory, Insomnium, and Moonspell.

From start to finish, the music can be likened to a chilling whisper overlaid with sustained heavy breathing. Following a synthesized electronic introduction that filters distant melodies as if they were slowly rising to the surface of the ocean, “Dead Light” kicks things off in a restrained, stately middle tempo that recalls the laid-back Dark Tranquillity brooder “Haven.” This continues on the bass-led crunch of “Mechanical,” though things soon grow in complexity. Extra speed and shifting time signatures lend “Pressure From The Crossroads,” “The Mask,” and Opethian “The Remote Controlled Walkthrough” a dash of aggression, but Adjust The Sun does not rely on “brutality” for heaviness (though drummer Sebastian Seitz’s paper-thin presence could’ve used a tad more testosterone). It’s the multiple layers of music, creatively written and passionately played, that rivet you.

Primarily responsible is songwriter and guitarist Sebastian Rützel, who harmonizes clean backing vocals with those of dexterous frontman Wolfgang Witt (when the latter isn’t croaking demonically). At the same time, Rützel shares interlocking leads and riffs with co-guitarist Tim Ivanic and bassist Benedikt Schreiber. These instrumentalists are in mesmerizing sync on the fluid, dynamic “Down,” which weaves an unpredictable progressive web atop an almost lick-for-lick tribute to the opening of Metallica’s “One.” Then there’s keyboardist Katrin Ball, self-described “piano girl” and the band’s hidden muse. Her ethereal compositions – at times center stage, at others lurking in the background – culminate in the stunning closer “Inner Autumn,” a melodic death masterpiece of mourning to which she penned the lyrics: “I see remnants of [bare feelings] / Falling down like withering leaves / To the ground where my senses once grew / Now colourful, but soon they’ll fade.”

An appropriate poetic summation of a moving soundtrack to the onset of fall, with the bleakness of winter looming on the horizon. Adjust The Sun recorded “Devouring Worlds” in 2010, and has since overhauled its lineup, which saw Witt replaced with growler Sebastian Hubrich, Ivanic with Markus Wegesin, and Seitz with Raphael Kaulen (who may yet bring some bigger balls to the percussive end of things). Moving forward, this band is a hidden gem and yours to discover, and this album an unpretentious, understated masterstroke of gothic metal – not perfect, but damn close.

Highs: Imaginative and near-flawless instrumentation, conjuring some stirring hooks that culminate in the brilliant "Inner Autumn."

Lows: While this is not percussion-driven music, the drum sound is nevertheless tinny and timid to the point of seeming like an afterthought.

Bottom line: Restrained, artful, and memorable gothic/melodic death metal for fans of Crematory, Insomnium, Moonspell, and "Haven" era Dark Tranquillity.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)