For the most part, “Wreck”, the third release from Finland’s TOTAL DEVASTATION will leave you, ehmmm, a wreck. Merging raw Death Metal with a tease of melody and an epic sound is the avenue of choice for these Finns. “Some Random” forges through first as a piece of ferocious DM akin to the tempered moments of Grind; pace, blast beats and a searing rhythm guitar that only relents mid-way through the song to exchange ripping chords with single note slashing and a melodic solo. The second cut “Aware” follows the same vein in riding a hyper-kinetic riffing foundation which then transform into walls of forceful slower hacking, and use of ambient keyboards to add a bit of texture.
On tracks throughout “Wreck”, the band displays a keen ability to convey an epic sense of Death Metal akin to recent HYPOCRISY albums. “Surveillance” starts out with a clean guitar and groove drumming only to make way for waves of chugging chords and a discernable but still throaty delivery of vocals by Lauri Pikka (who also does some programming and film samples for the album); is a song that continues and does a fine job of this mode of song. While I wouldn’t claim a great degree of variety on the album, there are moments or even a few bars that aren’t what one expects from a Death Metal band. Kicking in with a slightly less heavy opening rhythm than you might expect on a straight Metal or even Hard Rock song, “Unsung Hero” is a channelling of swaying movement instead of a blunt force assault. Of course, the song merges into a more general slow crush, but there are tremolo aspects to the guitars and some nice touches of harmonics that give a bit of divergence. Ending with the title track, TOTAL DEVASTATION bust out a percussive intro not unlike the Hip Hop/Rock songs ANTHRAX have recorded. Afterwards the track dips in to a rollicking Death-n-Roll number replete with melodic licks to bolster the staccato movements; though the song does end with a bit of blasted Death churned out with an ending mantra that recalls the earlier epic tone of the album.
“Wreck” isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off, but it is decent and a listenable record with some swelling moments that will have you banging the old noggin’.
(Online February 18, 2007)