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Devastation - Dispensable Bloodshed (Reissue)

Dispensable Bloodshed (Reissue)
by Jon Conant at 10 November 2017, 3:46 PM

What we have here is a doozy, and quite unlike anything I have seen released before, for better or for worse. Devastation is a brutal Death Metal band from Chicago, formed in 1986 and active until 1987. Back in the day, these guys would have been absolute pioneers of the genre, particularly with the vocal work (which still stands the test of time despite the obvious lack in production quality). Since splitting up in 1987, they have released several compilation albums and re-issues, most recently with the re-issue of “Dispensable Bloodshed” we’re looking at now. It is essentially a collection of all their best tracks, including some demos and originals, and possibly newer recordings. Overall, it is a fascinating history lesson in the genre of Death Metal, and gives a really cool glimpse into what it would have been like to be involved with the scene back in the day.

Apocalyptic Warrior” and “Nuclear Winter” are two tracks that stood out to me, which is difficult to do. Even to the trained ear, this album is tough to discern. But, “Apocalyptic Warrior” kicks off with a fantastic display of drum work and then features incredible solos from the guitarists throughout. This track is a blast and it’s cool to hear early pioneers of the genre just going haywire on their instruments. This is heavy shit, and I love it.

The vocals throughout the album are incredible. Maybe not by today’s standards, at first glance you would say they’re nothing special. But again, when we think about the context, these vocals in 1987 would have been some of the darkest and most brutal at the time. They’re forward thinking, they’re cleanly and powerfully delivered, and they are really, really cool.

It’s hard to say if this album is objectively good or not. First of all, it came out 30 years ago. The standards for what music should be in terms of songwriting, performance, and production have dramatically changed. And even by the standards of 1987, this is a brutal, raw, and cheaply produced album (which would have been a great thing in the scene back then). Is it good given the context of the 80s? Yes, of course. The riffs kick ass, the vocals are brutal, and you can hear 4 guys playing their hearts out fighting the establishment and status quo. But, is it pleasant to listen to as a music lover in 2017? Honestly, no. It is objectively flawed, long, confusing, and the production is horrendous. But this compilation album is best treated as a history lesson in the genre, appreciate it for what it is, and enjoy the cool flashback to early days of badass Death Metal.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 10
Memorability: 4
Production: 2

3 Star Rating

1. Devastation
2. Awakened From Death
3. Beyond Fear
4. Apocalyptic Warrior
5. Cranial Hemorrhage
6. Nuclear Winter
7. Beyond Fear
8. Devastation (Re-Creation Demo)
9. Cranial Hemorrhage (1987)
10. Dispensable Bloodshed
11. Genetic Poisoning
12. The Instrumental
13. Psychopathic
14. Beyond Fear (1987)
15. Nuclear Winter (1987)
16. Real of The Mastadon
17. Un-Named
Pat Buckley - Drums
Erv Brautigam - Guitar
Frank Ciampi - Bass
Troy Dixler - Vocals
Duane Rasmussen - Vocals
Record Label: Independent


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