Friday, January 4, 2013


Devilyn - XI
Conquer Records, 2005
Genre: Death Metal

1. The Counting of Quartered Heavens
2. The Enemy Within
3. Faith
4. The List
5. Degrade Flower
6. God Eater
7. Charming Maidens with No Skin
8. The Seven Virtues Divine
9. Searching for the Beauty

Usually I try to review a band’s releases in chronological order if I am able to obtain all of them and I have all Devilyn up to “XI.”  However, I felt “XI” was so immense and compelling that it demanded a first analysis that could not wait!  There have been some major line-up changes this time around, the biggest being that Novy is no longer the front man behind the band.  This left Devilyn to seek out a new bassist and new vocalist to front the show altogether.  I suspect Novy left due to his involvement in more major bands such as Behemoth and Vader, finally settling on Vader at this point it would seem (2006 based comment).

Anyway, where has Devilyn been lead up to at this point?  Well let me first say their new vocalist is not only a great replacement, but I think he is an even better vocalist than Novy.  Michal’s guttural tones are reminiscent of Sauron of Decapitated at times and Sauron is by far one of the superior Death Metal vocalists when it comes to personifying Death Metal in my opinion.  I felt Novy’s best vocal work was portrayed in “Artefact,” which is curious because Dies Irae’s “Immolated” came out at the same time and I did not like Novy’s vocal performance on that album.  Michal not only builds on Devilyn where Novy left off, but surpasses and presents a more fluid tone of voice to Devilyn’s technical and chaotic works. 

The new addition on Bass Guitar, Cyprian, who comes from one of the many Polish Death Metal bands, Hate, can’t entirely compete with Novy Bass wise as far as I can tell on here.  He certainly holds his ground well, but you don’t hear any of the crazy bass licks like you hear on “Anger.”  Unfortunately, Novy left that out in the later Devilyn works as well, and I think it would be cool if Cyprian brought that touch back into Devilyn’s forté.

Now the shocking aspect of their line-up change to me was the loss of Basti on drums and after hearing an outrageous performance on “Artefact,” because of the sheer technical brutality, where could they find another drummer to replace that kind of work?  Well Domin stepped behind the kit and we all have our answer.  That's right, the man behind Nomad's drum kit.  Another must hear Death Metal band!  Poland seems to never be short of a Technical Death Metal drummer, because Domin plays with such precision for such a technical play that I am reminded of things like Yattering’s “Genocide,” an album designated as tech-drum practice 101.  You can hear the influence in “The List” if you want a direct reference.

Now that I’ve outlined the primary line-up changes that left us with one gap in the guitar department with Dino leaving and being replaced by Erian.  Immediately it’s not just Bony writing all songs as the only original member, but Erian steps up to the plate and composes half the album!  Clearly he’s no stranger to writing superb music to come into an album like “XI” and blow away the Death Metal listening public!

Okay, onto the music.  Did you enjoy Decapitated’s “The Negation”?  Did you ever wonder what that would sound like even more technical?  Devilyn felt the need to answer this question for us without prompting.  I hear a Decapitated influence primarily in this, to be honest, but Devilyn just have a different methodology when it comes to writing these songs.  Plus influence isn’t limited to just Decapitated, I can hear Yattering in some of these drum approaches for sure.  On a lot of levels the guitar work is more over the top, maybe not against Decapitated’s “Winds of Creation,” but certainly more outrageous than anyone else’s current work from the Polish scene as far as I can tell.  You even hear some Lux Occulta guitar flare here and there in certain licks.  However, as anyone is aware the influence is not restrictive to only Poland, because in any Death Metal release the great names must be dropped, i.e. Suffocation, Morbid Angel, etc, but it is hardly conducive to discuss the reasoning, as it is obvious.

“XI” is a blisteringly fast and driving album and while the overall running time is by far the most disappointing aspect of the album, it does not mean that the songs feel incomplete.  Surprisingly they feel very finished and it does not diminish from the listening experience.  What diminishes the listening experience is the disappointment that the album has ended far too soon.  Maybe they should have written fifteen songs?  The other Devilyn releases are much longer, except “Artefact” so maybe they were already progressing to “XI” time wise ultimately.  This is an album every fan of technical Death Metal needs to be subjected to, I can’t imagine someone not enjoying this, even if you reserve yourself to more listener accessible Death Metal like Vader, for example.

One of the greatest aspects of this album is Michal’s lyrics.  They’re so outlandish and confusing, but purposeful at the same time.  I don’t even know where he gets the motivation for some of this stuff.  There are allusions to all sorts of numerical devices throughout the lyrical works.  There is a feel that there is a “puzzle” to be solved in the lyrics and the answer is somewhere in numbers.  The freakiest thing and easiest to figure out, subsequently, is on the back of the booklet and not even sung in any of the songs.  It seems to have some sort of poetic aspect:

"On the eleventh day after creation
The god died
And they still quartered my heavens
It was the eleventh day
Of an eleventh month
Of the eleventh year
Of my life
Then I counted up all
Of the four hundred
And fourty three thousand
Five hundred and fifty six
Fragments of heavens"

Now at first glance this probably appears quite meaningless.  Not in the least!  It has great numerical meaning fraught throughout!  For example the easiest to solve is the total amount of heavens which is written out long hand, but ultimately is: 443,556.  Now at first glance any lay person would say “what a meaningless number” right?  Look at it closer; take the square root of the number and you will see the secret.  It is inversely squared precisely and the outcome is 666.  So 443,556 is really the square of 666.  That’s how he derived that number.  However, the part where I have a mathematical logic breakdown is with things being quartered, meaning 4.  I can’t find how that number relates… I must digress; I only spent about twenty minutes working with the numbers.

Now let’s look at the first part of that poem, which is much less apparent than the square of 666 reference.  Here we are given the eleventh day, the eleventh month, and the eleventh year, written as 11/11/11 in date sequence.  Now depending on how you write dates or where you’re from, the year 11 would be 0011.  So my first inclination was maybe its binary, because I divided it by 11, since 11 was the preferred number and arrived at 10101, and the thought that it could be in binary hit me.  So, I went in search of a binary translator online (this is what I used: and yielded the results of nothing.  Not what I was hoping for.  However, I then got the notion that 666 might mean something!  Aha!  I had my answer for 6 in binary equals 00110110.  Not the whole sequence of 11 right?  However, when I place 0011011011 into the decoder I still yield a value of 6!  I’m not entirely sure how binary works, but I think I have found my primary answer behind the secret of “XI.”  I must say this was certainly an enjoyable mathematical puzzle and only made me more interested in the bands work and with such compelling and wonderful puzzles.  I am curious now to know if there are any other puzzles or secrets in their lyrics or was it just the poem at the end that is like a method of decoding it.  I’m sure the fact that eleven is a prime number has some other hidden meaning.  However, figuring this out leads me to believe that the lyrics aren’t as nonsensical as I previously thought.

In summation this album is wondrous through and through.  Not only will it challenge you musically on a technical level, but also on an intellectual level.  I have immense respect for what Devilyn have accomplished on this album and I highly recommend that my readers follow suit and track down this release and listen to it as much as I do.  I have been constantly pulling this out and revisiting the album and that, to me, is the mark of a good album, just hopefully it will keep it up.  There are some albums I will listen to a lot when I first get them, but eventually they fall to the wayside and are dominated by other releases.  However, I do not think “XI” will fall into this category, unless Devilyn’s next release manages to absolutely put “XI” to shame… which that would be hard, but is possible.  Hopefully the next one will be longer.  Again, this is a must have release!  Enter the world of “XI” it is a prime choice.

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