Review: “Everything Worth Loving” by Elder Devil

Formed circa 2016 by primary songwriter Jacob Lee, known for his prior convictions in Hellish Form, Keeper and PlasticBag FaceMask, alongside vocalist Stephen Muir in Fresno California, Elder Devil have long since made a name for themselves crafting corrosive Grindcore and apoplectic Sludge Metal for the love of extreme music as their 2019 debut album “The Light Dimmed Eternal” evidences. Joined by bassist Ryan Urquidez and drummer Peter Ruacho, the quartet recorded and mixed their sophomore album with Lee behind the boards between April-May 2022 before handing mastering duties going to Jacob Plotkin (Cave In, Old Man Gloom, Street Sects). It is said that upon completing writing for the musical components of “Everything Worth Loving” back in January 2021, Muir took meticulous care in penning the lyrics, with the passing of his mother at the forefront of his mind. Tinged with personal loss and a sense of displacement, Muir questions, “Why do we love and why does that love leave?” and you can rest assured that the answer to that is uncompromisingly dark and savagely brutal.

A sub two minute blast of introspection set against a hellscape of crushing Grindcore sets the tone as “Endless Need” rears its ugly head, a vicious little ditty that punches above its weight with violent movements and hits of Death Metal inspirations. That’s swiftly followed by the upper cut of “The Hounds at Night“, a cut which proves once and for all that you can do menacing and sinister atmospherics in 147 seconds, the staccato riffage and restless unease of it all an unexpected pleasure. Stirring the soul, the lyrics from a barbed tongue resonate like a bullet ricochet rattling around in the brain as “My Body is an Earthen Shrine” echoes out with the Noise Metal influences of bands like Will Haven pulling the strings. A story of obsession, nature and ultimately transcendence it’s a reminder that devotion does not always bring riches or reward and is a suitably merciless listen that makes way for “Now Grief” to slap harder with a renewed energy. Dark and oppressive, the thoughts of the diseased mind of the griever are exposed over the crushing downtempo finale of that with flesh searing consequences. What it lacks in the power of a second guitar it makes up for with the undeniable weight and gravity of negative thought, pulling the listener in and crushing them like only a black hole void to nothingness can do. The slow grave yard trudge of “Insomnia” marks the longest cut as it approaches five minutes of pure unadulterated hatred for a World that took away all that was loved and is now lost. A hideous depiction that makes the skin crawl, it traverses the line between reality and nightmare in disturbing fashion, so much so that this catharsis for Muir may require psychological evaluation.

The half way point of the album is “What Do You See?“, a cut that continues the nails down a chalk board antics of the quartet with sinister rhythms and swift tempo changes creating another restless and relentless tune to help you breathe more easily. It continues the narrative of grief and depression as Muir rants and raves without reaching some of the feral moments on display here. His vocals are the bark and bite of a rabid dog but more than clean enough to understand every single word. One of the stand out cuts, “Puncture Wound” rattles the bones like a spine shank, it’s tempo of the damned gallop and abrasive main riff a mosh pit starter at will leave the masses sweaty. The whirlwind doesn’t stop there however as there is no pause for calm, clarity of breath before “Burning Forest” kicks in, it’s churning battery acid nausea reaching levels of pure anarchy by the time Muir screams the final notes. Tribal fills from Ruacho are a nice touch in the opening half of “What Do You Hear?“, the band offering something with the feel of Metallic Hardcore as Muir once again examines the patient mental with a scalpel while they kick and scream. Or maybe he is the patient mental and the World is Dr Evil? In this collection of nightmarish visions, finding reality is just as terrifying and the dream. The feedback soaked “Dismal and Alone” feels like a remix by Full Of Hell, an abusive white noise moment that should have been the end of the album and a stark warning. Instead the band have one more trick up their sleeve in the album title track and by placing that piece of nastiness in front of it, it ensures it has a palate cleanser of a kind before it. A chugging behemoth of a cut, the grand finale is a knuckle duster punch in the face of pure aggression and slow head bang, a brutal stand out that deserves a 7″ vinyl pressing all of its own… [7/10]

Track Listing

1. Endless Need
2. The Hounds at Night
3. Awash in Light
4. My Body is an Earthen Shrine
5. New Grief
6. Insomnia
7. What Do You See?
8. After Flesh
9. Puncture Wound
10. Burning Forest
11. What Do You Hear?
12. Dismal and Alone
13. Everything Worth Loving

Everything Worth Loving” by Elder Devil is out 16th June 2023 via Prosthetic Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *