If it gurgles, rumbles with the fury of hell and comes packed with enough brutality of that to equal thousands of crazed Roman soldiers ready to bring down your house in a mere instant, then it has to be a new disc from brutal deathers Devangelic. Featuring Antropofagus vocalist Paolo Chiti as well as Corpsefucking Art guitarist Mario Di Giambattista with the addition of Catastrophic Evolution skinsman Marco Coghe, one can tell that these guys already have more than enough experience in the BDM/gore scene to properly represent it. One of my favorite things about this genre has always been the drumming, which Coghe performs beautifully with a sense of technical tact that only seasoned listeners would truly understand. It doesn’t sound like a lawnmower running over a brick and rather like a man is actually trying to go above and beyond to bring out a truly meaningful performance. He has the toughest job aside from Chiti’s grueling vocals, and as I know a great many people take this purely on an instrumental level and even consider the vocals to be just another instrument in that package this tight skeleton of drumwork really helps to keep the work grounded.
Though there’s not much in the way of tempo changes and sometimes the guitar melodies end up drowned in the fierce tempest of drum acrobatics, I’m almost certain that you’re more concerned about the brutality of this thing rather than any significant changes that would take away from the overall effect of bashing your skull in for forty minutes. Some would even call it brainless, but in all honesty – it’s fun. Despite all the gore and extremity, I’ve always found bands like this a joy to listen to, especially while playing an FPS or action-oriented dungeon crawler – anything where I’m going to be overwhelmed by powerful monsters and have to “kill em’ all.” I once listened to the entire Cannibal Corpse library while playing Torchlight II years ago and that fit the mood relatively well (even though I never finished the game). But if you’d rather blast death metal through a server while playing Call Of Duty or Battlefield, this album will work there too. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend blasting music through a server.
Moving back to the album, I found that there was a little atmospheric moment called “Wretched Incantations” that might be a little overkill. I really don’t think that hardcore BDM/gore listeners like to stick around for the instrumental interludes, because these are mostly what people hear from the PA while the band is still setting up for a concert performance. They usually take away from the brutality and cause listeners to skip them, so I’d consider that worthless. Most people are only here to be crushed after all, so it may have been better to put that piece at the very end of the disc as a closer or to perhaps use it for some other project that has nothing to do with this act. It may have even worked better as a skippable intro. Surprisingly, none of the other cuts on this album feature a similar atmosphere and are all bludgeoning death metal tracks. I suppose if this were about me, I wouldn’t mind such tracks and would actually like more in way of melody and texture, but this review is not about me – it’s about BDM/gore lovers, who already know what they want and pretty much deserve just that. It’s not as if Giambattista doesn’t attempt different riff patterns here and there, but the disc sticks to one primary pattern and that’s its selling point.
Devangelic’s Phlegethon might not stand out so much from other acts that you may have in your collection like Kataplexy or Antropofagus, but if you’re a BDM/gore fan, chances are that you’re going to pick it up anyway. Italy has been bursting with this stuff as of recent, and it always made me wonder why something as sick and gruesome (not to mention historical) as the Italian mafia was never a subject or concept on these kinds of records. As much as I love H.P. Lovecraft’s work, the amount of brutality and murder that the Italian mafia were responsible for would fit the music far better than that of scifi-horror. But perhaps that kind of material is just a bit “too grim and gruesome” or maybe I’m just too gore for gore. In any case, Devangelic are a prime example of BDM/gore done right and while it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, you’ll still be pleased with it.