Aside from inventive use of portmanteau, Genocide Shrines offer little of novelty on their debut EP. The riffs here, simplistic as they are, lie buried under an overwhelmingly reverb-soaked production, a bane of more than one modern band working the war metal/Incantation/Portal template, be it through creative deficiency or a misbegotten comprehension of atmospheric dynamics. It bears to remember that bands like Order From Chaos, Sacramentary Abolishment, even Angelcorpse – acts undoubtedly looked up to by the new wave – never used density to disguise lazy songwriting.
Devanation Monumentemples posits scant evidence of anything that hasn’t previously been heard in Blasphemy‘s pioneering work in the early 90s. Blasting drums supplement riffs consisting of rapidly strummed 2-3 notes on the lowest strings, barely audible but just enough to suggest a disappointing lack of evolution in song structure. Genocide Shrines slow down with clockwork regularity as well, showing an intimate acquaintance with the arts of groove and crowd-appeasement. These parts are built for a live audience, existing as place holders between points of entry and egress; of themselves possessing little compositional intelligence, they serve as substitutes for traditional verse-chorus forms.
Every song on Devanation Monumentemples is a conveniently symmetrical A-B-A bundle, a monotony that no amount of samples and esoteric lyrics can suppress. Style over substance may seem like harsh commentary for a death metal album of such lo-fi credentials yet is all the more pertinent in a scene overrun by bands with no claim to the contrary.