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Phlebotomized – Devoted to God (Reissue)

Devoted to God (Reissue)
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 03 November 2022, 5:28 AM

From Bandcamp, “PHELBOTOMIZED is one of those bands that takes hold of its listener and invites a great deal of attention. They were and still are a very strange musical group that was quite honestly ahead of their time. “Devoted to God” is actually a re-release of their 1992 demo album, and it contains five songs. “In Search of Tranquility & Subtle Disbalanced Liquidity” is the first. The clean guitars and keyboards in the opening sequence definitely have a tranquil feeling to them. I am not sure if they kept the original production or not, but it’s not super clear. 1992, eh? Death Metal was just coming to the surface then, and the guttural vocals reflect the time period. There are also some hints of Progressive elements, mainly in the shifting structures. The leads are stuffed full of effects, giving off an eerie feeling to the music.

“Desecration of Alleged Christian History” begins with keyboards and the rhythm guitars mirror the music in the original Halloween movie. I feel like the band lost me a few times along the way with all of the meter changes, but it’s a decent song. “Fate of A Devotee & Devoted to God” is another song that is sort of all over the place when it comes to the various elements. The trouble that the band has is blending them together and their transitions. But, slick production didn’t really exist at that time for many Death Metal artists, so you have to give them credit for what they did. “Tragic Entanglement” features some more keyboard work, but a lot of it is buried in the background. Musicians in the genre just weren’t sure what to do with them during these early years. Again, some apt musical shifts take place in many of the rhythms of the song. “Ataraxia” closes the album; a short one-minute downer of clean guitars and a somber feeling.

I would have to agree with the Bandcamp assessment that this band was “ahead of their time.” A lot of Death Metal from the early 90’s was very unilateral and unforgiving, just a step cousin of Thrash at the time. They seem to resist the inevitable slide into Thrash, and there are elements of Progressive Death Metal here, which really didn’t even exist at the time, nor did keyboards in the genre. But the album, even for its groundbreaking sound, remains quite disjointed. I have no idea what happened to the band after 1992, but this album captures a budding musical style that simply could not be found in the annals of Metal at the time.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. In Search of Tranquility & Subtle Disbalanced Liquidity
2. Desecration of Alleged Christian History
3. Fate of A Devotee & Devoted to God
4. Tragic Entanglement
5. Ataraxia
Patrick van der Zee – Bass
Lawrence Payne – Drums
Jordy Middelbosch – Guitars
Tom Palms – Guitars
Barry Schuyer – Vocals
Ben Quak – Keyboards
Record Label: Hammerheart Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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