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Song Premiere: Devouring Star – “To Traverse the Black Flame”

Many dissonant or orthodox black metal groups attempt to evoke, perversely some sort of religious atmosphere—the sense of rituals carried on with some reverence in a stately nature—for an example, see Abigor. That’s not what I get from Finland’s Devouring Star. On their song “To Traverse the Black Flame,” taken from their upcoming debut, Through Lung and Heart, I don’t hear spirituality. Instead I hear frustration turning into rage and finally anguish.

For most of the seven-plus minutes of the song, Devouring Star ride a few similar riffs, each variations on the same dissonant note progression. It’s as if the song is composed of those few notes desperately trying to put themselves together, each time failing, each time losing a bit of themselves and becoming something else. It’s an agonizing process that is fascinating to hear, even while the band wheels through a long segment of blasting and finally settling on the ghost of a groove less than minute from the ending. This constant re-calibration made me think of atoms struggling to keep a hold of their constitutions while spiraling toward a black hole—from which, presumably Devouring Star derived at least some portion of their name. Perhaps you’ve recently seen the film Interstellar—it tired to find some vague kind of hope in the all-consuming power of astrophysics and wound up sounding like bullshit as a result. “To Traverse the Black Flame” is more in line with my imagination: harrowing and merciless.

The trick is finding the details hidden in the distortion and blasting—reading between the lines, finding the errors in the signals. Attention to detail is key in black metal of this sort, it’s what separates the bands worth watching to those worth disregarding. Devouring Star are the former.

—Joseph Schafer

Through Lung and Heart will drop on Feb 1, 2015 via Daemon Worship Productions. Pre-order it here.

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