Friday, May 6, 2016

Formless Devotion - Sparks Of Separation (2016)

South Africa's Formless Devotion are a black metal act with a decidedly raw production value, albeit a definite sound and fury that I think will appeal to fans of work like early Darkthrone or even Portal. They seem to revel in soundscapes, making for an almost grave-like sound. It doesn't feel quite like DSBM, but is still quite forlorn in some sections while being terribly threatening in others. From opener “Aeonik Devotion” I could say that such a band would appeal to fans of raw, pure black metal; but I can no longer say that as soon as the experimenting that comprises “Resonance” comes into view. Here is where we'll experience the kind of electronic influenced atmospheres that sometimes turn people off of black metal albums, but with a sort of tribal nature this time. When “Prana Of The Drakon” comes into play, we soon roll right back into that familiar black metal territory, where melodic leads really seem to have their way with the piece. That's perfectly fine by me, as it shows that these guys really can play and put on a real performance, despite the fact that it can still be a bit hard to fully discern everything in the mix. “Phosfire” doesn't really give us an electronic feel, but it does give us a sort of evil hypnotic instrumental as we pour into “Illuminate My Temple” which starts right off with a rather nice lead melody. Maybe things are still a little muddy in areas, but the thick growls of the frontman seem to take this into an almost death metal (I said Portal) direction sometimes, which I can't say that I mind. Tremolos are definitely a large part of this performance, but Formless Devotion are an act not tied down by invisible genre restrictions. They're the kind of band that should appeal to those who love the sounds of sullen death and despair just as much as cold black melodies and I think they're doing a phenomenal job with this little atmosphere of dread. It really makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck sometimes, which isn't something I feel that I can say often. The lyrics seem to be of an occult nature, and from the sounds of this they are most certainly fucking with something I wouldn't. That intrigues me, as it should you.

(7 Tracks, 33:00)


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