‘Tis the season for evil music. Usually that means some sort of PG tunes, like horror soundtracks, synthwave, or goth rock–the kind of safe “spooky” jams that your parents enjoy. Hell, I’m sure their go-to “evil” music wouldn’t even scare your average grandma. Uh, that’s not the case here. Daeva seem tailor-made for this time of year, in large part because their long-awaited debut honestly terrifies me. So what exactly have we gotten ourselves into?
Daeva are comprised of Philly metal stalwarts featuring most of doom/heavy metal act Crypt Sermon, but there’s little of that weed and fairy tales on display here. Through Sheer Will and Black Magic… is black/thrash metal with a real emphasis on the punk-y undertones of both styles. Often, blackened thrash will feel over-the-top and focus on the innate melodic thrills of each style. That is not particularly the case here. Daeva go for your throat and soul in equal measure, with some of the most overt excess of Satanic chaos this side of Norway. I have no idea if these Philadelphians would burn a church, but their peers throw batteries at Santa during Eagles games, so dousing a Christian place of worship in flames feels like a logical next step.
I can almost hear you saying, “Is it winking, knowing, Satanic excess?” To that I would say both yes and no. Featuring some of the wildest album art in years, with demonic entities and dicks aplenty, Through Sheer Will and Black Magic… is also almost psychedelically colorful. The influence of Dark Angel is strong here, but musically, the most obvious nod is to evil legends Aura Noir. The black metal is maniacal; the thrash is wild and Teutonic; the solos feel almost glam metal in their whammy-bar insanity, and the drumming is honestly my favorite work behind the kit in 2022. The hints of death metal’s majesty are the Himalayan pink salt that gives the rest of the album a killer flavor.
I don’t want to undersell that for those into this sort of thing; Daeva truly kick ass. There’s a real control the band have over the musical chaos, where each left turn feels earned and expertly planned. It doesn’t hurt that famed engineer Arthur Rizk was involved, as the record sounds wonderful, like he knows how to harness musical menace. However, if you scare easily, from Edward Gonet’s possessed vocal range, to lyrics that feel less metaphorical than truly evil (aside from the poignant “Itch of the Bottle”), do not enter this haunted house. Or do, I’m not the boss of you. I can only encourage those brave enough to press play to just sit back, enjoy the ride, and maybe hold tight to your soul…
Order the album at this location.