TOTAL DEVASTATION is yet another band trying to get their share of fame. As far as fame is concerned I bet they won't be relying on their looks, I mean, just look at their beards for God's sake. Nope, it's their brand of Death Metal that they are putting their faith in, and getting their debut mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox studios doesn't hurt either, well, in most cases anyway. But it's a matter of sink-or-swim in this genre that's already filled with numerous bands who sound exactly the same. It's a matter of being able to either bring something new to the genre or taking the already existing materials and turning them into something fresh. What's that got to do with TOTAL DEVASTATION? Well, everything…
Alright, I had only heard a few samples from this album before and with them being quite promising the full-length should have been an enjoyable trip. Now, I was not totally wrong, but this is far from what I had hoped. One question: Why are the vocals mixed behind the instruments? Basically the starter is a mid-paced track which incorporates a lot of machines with a rather generic Modern Metal outfit. The guitars and drums are mostly your basic chug-chug. Now don't get me wrong, I like that chug-chug sound but it's not enough to keep this song afloat. The second track shows a lot more potential. A couple of symphonic elements and grinding drum-work. A very good track actually. Getting more accustomed to the angry and low-mixed vocals seems to help too. "Fragments" and "Fleshing" show that THE CROWN and THE HAUNTED have got some spins from these guys. That's a good thing, cause the faster rhythm of Thrash improves the songs a lot. "Prepare To Die" has some violin parts which makes this song different and better already. On the whole this song is a fast one again, pounding drums and good riffs. The rest of the songs can more or less be thrown into the not-totally-bad-but-not-exactly-interesting-either category.
"Roadmap Of Pain" is a rather divided effort, unfortunately. The band does spawn some good ideas and there are a few good tracks, but they get shadowed by the not-so-good ones. But with more experience and more mature song writing who knows what this band might achieve. In the sink-or-swim situation they haven't yet learned how to swim, but somehow they manage to drift back to the shore and wake up there the next morning. (Online July 28, 2003)