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Devastation - Signs Of Life (Reissue)

Signs Of Life (Reissue)
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 October 2017, 9:41 PM

After my latest reissue run, crossing nine albums of a single band, I came back to reviewing the newer released albums in the market. But, as you can see, I am back right in the belly of the beast, my addiction, studying the past of the music. Setting the time machine to the late 80s in the US, and here I am, with the late Texan Thrash Metal band, DEVASTATION. The Italian label, Punishment 18 Records, took it upon itself to reissue the second and third album of the band, which apparently disbanded right after the latter near the end of 1991. Starting up with fueled up sophomore “Signs Of Life”, originally released in 1989, via Combat Records, a ride through another Thrash Metal fiend has begun. DEVASTATION were on the borderline into a heart of a newfound aggression.

Far from the influence of the Bay Area monstrosities, the Texans augmented the Punk element deeper and at a substantial rate into their music. The signs of the NWOBHM that treated well the Bay Area bands, may as well be a small figment in the DEVASTATION policy, or accurately, barely had “Signs Of Life”. The band’s major powerhold was their blasting speed and their closeness to the outskirts of Death Metal, look but don’t touch kind of thing. Furthermore, the SLAYER factor almost worked overtime within the band’s material, in particular the untamed soloing bombardments and blitzkrieg sneak attacks, which If found to be zealous and decisively played. The riffages were somewhat to be expected in their manner, revealing similar pieces to DEMOLITION HAMMER / DARK ANGEL / SADUS / GRINDER / EVILDEAD. Honestly, I kind of had mixed feelings about some of the riff examples on display, being addictive to a certain point, yet also being overly repetitive in the other.

Such as the riffing issue, same was with the album’s songwriting. DEVASTATION didn’t leave too much to room for expectancy, they just fired away everything they had in a major onslaught. “Fear of the Unknown” actually displayed a different kind of tune in comparison to the band’s speeding demon thrust tracks, it showed a relatively diverse band, a bit flexible in its riffing to an extent, unchaining a riff based tune that shows major rhythm guitar capabilities. A pure feast for riff fans. The ever optimistic “Tomorrow We Die” was selected for 1990’s “Speed Kills 5” compilation. On the attack with gruesome speed, enabling to create interest with the mid-tempo heaviness that resulted in yet another effort at being slightly innovative in comparison to the album’s majority while once again establishing a powerful lead guitar section. “Signs of Life” is swift, embraces brutalized speed while punching a hole with its heaviness. In some point it evolved into a slightly constructive C part, right before roughly crushing with a wild exchange of soloing. “Manic Depressive” surprisingly has a few similarities to ANNIHILATOR of the same time period, living up to the DEVASTATION moniker, manifesting a true moshpit party.

Though I can’t consider “Signs Of Life” as piece of Thrash Metal nostalgia, it is an important memorandum of what the subgenre went through, right on the verge of the Death Metal carnage, which has already began spreading itself in the USA. DEVASTATION showed promise in their venture, and I guess that their third, and last album, might say a bit more about their progress.

Purchase Link: Punishment 18 Records

3 Star Rating

1. Eye for an Eye
2. Desolation
3. Manic Depressive
3. Signs of Life
4. Retribution
5. Tomorrow We Die
6. Contaminated
7. Fear of the Unknown
8. Escape to Violence
Rodney Dunsmore – Vocals
Henry Elizondo – Guitars
Dave Burk - Guitars
Edward Vasquez – Bass
Louie Carrisalez – Drums
Record Label: Punishment 18 Records


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