Reviewed: July 2022
Released: 2022, self-released
Reviewer: Simon Wiedemann
Devils Architect (I’m not sure if the lack of an apostrophe is a mistake they keep making over and over again) are a symphonic blackened death metal band. They are from the United States and formed in 2020, self-releasing their sophomore album ‘Baptized in Blood and Blasphemy’ in 2021, digitally. It follows their first effort ‘Abaddon Awaits’, released just a year earlier. Baptized continues to deal with subject matter such as hauntings, demonic possession, evil spirits, monsters and Gods. The band are for fans of Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, and Old Man’s Child, and the music and lyrics were written, performed, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by band mastermind Spencer Tyler.
First impressions: Thank God this act has a relatively new style. When I saw I was about to review a black metal band, I feared the worst. The album starts with spooky keys and some strange instrument I can’t put my finger on. Perhaps it’s just my hardened (deafened) black metal ears. It kind of sounds like an acoustic guitar with effects added or a harpsichord-like instrument, I’m not completely sure. Thankfully the unidentified instrument finds its way in other songs, as it does sound cool. It’s a bit misleading calling the band ’SYMPHONIC blackened death metal’ though. It’s not as if the band are as instrumentally complex and detailed as SepticFlesh. Personally, I think saying they have symphonic elements is better. That is if you can call the strings setting on your synthesiser ‘symphonic.’ (Again, if the strings are real, I apologise, but I doubt it).
Interestingly, the vocalist (almost) sounds like the guy from Exodus later on his career at times, just more demented. Not your everyday screeches/growls all the time! Other times there are clean sung melodies, so there is a hat trick in terms of delivery which is appreciated. As the singing style is kind of melodramatic in places, it does kind of make the sound a bit cheesy. When combined with the keys that aren’t exactly considered too cool, and the chord progressions that are also sometimes a bit overly dramatic rather than truly scary, the sound again, may be a little hard to get into/admit liking. In a way, I’m reminded of Cradle of Filth a little.
Track ‘Baptized in Blood and Blasphemy’ for example has on and off double kick blasts that bring to mind Fear Factory. It’s arguably a much more interesting sound that going crazy CONSTANTLY. Easier on the feet too. Some of the other songs are a bit more over indulgent at times, but on the whole the drum work is fairly decent, if rather straightforward. It’s also kind of a breath of fresh air, the way the guitars aren’t ALL about tremolo picking that’s as fast as possible. Instead, thrashy (as we all know, thrash is slightly slower) speed picked riffs are combined with pounding power chords and the keys on top of them add colour and atmosphere.
In conclusion, maybe the album could do with more variety, as the sound gets somewhat predictable towards the end, but that’s far from unusual, and DA should be respected for doing something new(ish). I’m not sure I’ve ever heard quite so much reverb on lead guitar parts in the whole of my life, but maybe that was to sound atmospheric. Such effect abuse is usually meant to hide sloppiness, but I trust the band. I’m just saying when I first started playing guitar, I did the same thing. No. I trust them. The album isn’t a classic, but it is solid, and for that reason… it’s recommended!