I’ve been following the progress of Finland’s Devouring Star since the release of their self-titled demo in 2013 through their 2015 debut album, ‘Through Lung and Heart’.
While it’s been somewhat gratifying to watch the band’s profile grow, I found the album a bit one-dimensional in comparison with the promise displayed on the demo.
Two years on and the one man entity returns with a compact, focused EP that treads into new and, to these ears, more exciting territory.
Made up of three songs spanning roughly twenty five minutes, the EP attempts to depict the relationship between life, existence and death and how each one is integral to the other’s existence. A lofty concept to tackle in such a short space of time but the results are impressive.
A similar concept seems to have been either purposefully or incidentally woven into the music with a general focus on the slower end of mid-paced playing that, on one hand, results in a reliance on repetition yet, on the other, allows the songs to really breathe.
It’s almost as if all of the dynamic that the album lacked has been poured two-fold into ‘Antihedron’.
It’s cohesive and focused, and the use of repetition only acts to enhance the experience, gently leading the listener deeper into the gloom.
Or in other words, what the record might lack in dexterity, it more than makes up for in skilled songwriting. There is a level of confidence on display that makes this all hang together beautifully.
The music swings and sways with drowsy purpose on opener, ‘Breath of the Void’, and the effect is enhanced by a deep and rich production. It sounds alive with the drums and guitars filling every available space with warm, enveloping tone.
When the pace kicks up a gear in the second track, ‘Star Below’, it somehow doesn’t feel intrusive; it simply makes sense. I imagine, contextually, that the band are depicting the chaos of existence between the bookends of endless drift…
That final drift coming in the form of ‘Angel of Null’, the highlight on the record for me. It opens with a Middle Eastern sounding female voice singing a prayer before descending into a similarly doomish groove as developed on ‘Breath of the Void’.
Here, in particular, the sense of repetition really comes into its own, with the languid rhythm of the vocals creating a unique and reflective headspace.
The songs flow comfortably from one to the next to the point that they almost reference one another in their possessed focus and might be considered three separate acts of one song.
David Herrerias’ beautiful abstract artwork neatly encapsulates everything the music is saying here too, merging the various planes of material existence through vaporous transitional phases with a wonderful sense of motion. It is rich and evocative and is truly pleasant to decode while absorbing the music.
Where mastermind JL decides to take it from here is anyone’s guess, but with this bold step the man has massively upped his game so I am sure that wherever he decides to take us, it will be worth the trip.
4.2/5 – Andrew Cunningham ::: 15/04/17