On their upcoming fourth album Xul, Italian brutal death-dealers Devangelic return with a vengeance: their tones and assault sharpened to a killing point, rendering their esoteric subject matter in blood-curdling fidelity. Shifting farther away from brutal death metal conventions and continuing on from 2020's Ersetu, Xul combines mythology with incredibly vicious riffs that rely on a lethally pristine rhythm section to give them the clarity they demand. Fans of Nile, another brutal and technical outfit that walks these pathways, will find a lot to like here, though Devangelic prioritize their core offering (riffs) over atmospheric and aesthetic considerations. Sumerian lore is a huge part of Xul, though, expressed mostly through blistering, jabbing death metal.

It's not entirely all-out, war, though. There's a brain-bending element to the record, too: on "Udug-Hul Incantation," the band leaves behind bloody battlefields for tortured mindscapes full of dissonant surges and distant agony. Several interludes ("Famine of Nineveh," "Hymn of Savage Cannibalism") also break up the action with classical guitar and some alternate instrumentation, though they're only brief respites before another wave. At its core, this is a martial record, depicting the eternal struggles of man against evil, and Devangelic's carefully-applied brutality gives that conflict the turbulent chaos it deserves.

Stream the record here before it releases Friday:



Xul releases April 7th via Willowtip Records.

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