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Devour the Power

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Album Review

Melodic death metal and symphonic black metal (two different but closely related ways of making extreme metal more accessible) were largely European phenomena in the mid- to late '90s and early to mid-2000s — mostly European as in Scandinavia, although Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, and various East European countries also got in on the action. Largely European, however, doesn't mean exclusively European, and Tennessee's Destroy Destroy Destroy make a respectable contribution to the melodic death metal/symphonic black metal phenomenon on Devour the Power. Like many similar bands in Sweden and Norway, Destroy Destroy Destroy enjoy contrasting the extreme and the musical. Avant-garde jazz musicians would call this an inside/outside approach (the extreme elements being the outside), and the most outside thing about this 2006 recording is Bryan Kemp's lead vocals. Kemp usually sings with the type of high-pitched, larynx-shredding rasp that black metal is famous (or infamous) for, sometimes detouring into more of a deep, larynx-shredding death metal growl. But take away Kemp's extreme vocals, and you would be left with essentially a power metal revival album. The songs, all of them forceful but highly melodic, are mostly (though not entirely) structured like power metal songs; if Kemp had opted to provide clean vocals 100 percent of the time, Devour the Power would have been identified as a power metal-oriented disc with prog metal influences, some thrash parts and some black metal-style blastbeats. Certainly, Destroy Destroy Destroy's affection for the likes of Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Manowar, Judas Priest, and Dream Theater is hard to miss. But because Kemp's extreme vocals are such an integral part of what is essentially a very musical album, Devour the Power successfully achieves the sort of inside/outside balance that fans of melodic death metal and symphonic black metal crave — and the Tennessee residents demonstrate that a band doesn't need a Stockholm or Oslo address to do this type of thing pleasingly well.

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