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Devil Unnamed – Media!

Devil Unnamed
Media!
by kenn staub at 17 February 2021, 2:51 PM

Simply put, DEVIL UNNAMED is not a conventional band playing conventional metal. The four lads in this German band want to consciously do things differently and sound unique, creating something unusual and new. They have certainly achieved their goal on “Media!,” a genre-spanning, quirky mélange of riffage that channels a range of influences such as ALICE IN CHAINS, TOOL, BOLT THROWER, KREATOR, JUDAS PRIEST, DANKO JONES, and AVANTASIA.

Perhaps the first thing that jumps out on “Media!” is Philip Beierbach’s vocals, which are, to say the least, distinct. His singing style changes not only from song-to-song, but also within songs. I never knew what to expect and Beierbach’s vocals left me a tad unbalanced. To the detriment of each song’s lyrics, I often found my attention focused on how Beierbach was singing as opposed to what he was singing.

Just as Beierbach’s vocals are eclectic, so is the band’s musical performance, each track rife with tempo and style changes. The effect could again be a bit unsettling and I was sometimes unable to get comfortable within each song, it being difficult to predict what was coming next.

Social Justice Warriors” contains thrash elements, whereas “Collateral Damage,” which features a quality guitar solo by Aleksandar Stojanovic, and “Shadows” have a sludgy tonality. Both styles are played well. “I’m Trapped” was musically lighter than the preceding three numbers and I really dug its flow. “War Of Toys” includes structural changes throughout, though they are not so jarring as to be disconcerting.

Christian Bartels’s bass is very prominent on “Darkest Dungeon,” serving as the foundation for Matthias Flohr’s drumming and Stojanoivc’s guitar. The sludge-based musicality was easy to get into and I liked this track better than many on the album (maybe because Beierbach didn’t sing so much after the number’s midpoint).

Devil’s Messenger” was almost rollicking, though again frequent time changes made it hard to settle into an aural groove. Bartels’s bass anchors the driving “Media!” and the time shifts are subtle (but Beirbach’s voice!?!?!).  “There Is Nothing” is rocking, but the tempo changes are a bit weird.

DEVIL UNNAMED’s performance on “Media!” is heavy on experimentation to the point of being, at times, erratic. It’s as if CAPTAIN BEEFHART & THE MAGIC BAND, FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION, GWAR, and THE BUTTHOLE SURFERS combined to create and play their own progressive take on heavy metal. Overall, I couldn’t help but think that, though being different can be good, being different for the sake of being different carries with it risks sometimes best left untaken.

Musicianship: 7
Songwriting: 5
Memorability: 8
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Social Justice Warriors
2. Collateral Damage
3. Shadows
4. I’m Trapped
5. War Of Toys
6. Darkest Dungeon
7. Devil’s Messenger
8. Media
9. There Is Nothing
Lineup:
Philip Beierbach – Vocals
Aleksandar Stojanovic – Guitar
Christian Bartels – Bass
Matthias Flohr – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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