Review: DVSR – D.V.S.R

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Near-faultless

There is nothing more to ask from this album. It is the most refined fusion metal album of the decade.

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Australian rap metal experimentalists DVSR released their eponymous debut album in November of last year after a long wait and plenty of well-deserved hype: think about how good Hacktivist are, then multiply that by ten.

Hailing from Western Syndey, New South Wales, the quintet first came to prominence in November of 2013 with the release of the smash-hit single and music video ‘Unconscious’, which earned them international renown from the get go. The subsequent release of two further singles, ‘The Forked Tongue’ and ‘Life and Death’, garnered yet more attention in the following year. Late in 2015 the band announced a rebranding of their name (they were initially called Devastator but elected to change this to their present moniker on the grounds that it was far more original and would avoid confusion with other bands) and released this, their first full-length album.

Put simply, D.V.S.R is a triumph of 21st century fusion metal. The days of rap metal tracks existing only as overlays of late 90’s gangsta rap on repetitive, dreary breakdowns or clumsy covers are well and truly over: they’ve one-upped Hacktivist in that respect. Stylistically, there are strong allusions to nu metal’s heyday which are nicely balanced with well-executed and punchy metalcore tropes in the form of slow, rumbling breakdowns. If these genres aren’t really your bag then you should probably leave the room now; but if you came for a quality, artisanal amalgamation of these two then you are in for a monumental treat.

The album opens with thirty seconds of introductory crescendo in the form of ‘I V I’ which slips seamlessly into the bouncy, but deceptively vicious, ‘Six Figures Deep’, which bares its teeth with some well-executed and seriously aggressive lyrics: “love and respect, you’re a thug with a cheque, can you buy the time when I got you good as dead?” The next heavyweight is the equally excitable ‘Shutdown…’ featuring layers of crafted, djent-inspired riffs and plunging breakdowns. DVSR maintains their addictive heaviness in ‘Beneath the Skin’ but takes a slower, groovier approach to the guitars, a nice change of pace on the album’s halfway mark which effuses into the following tracks, ‘Remission’ and ‘The Forked Tongue’, but with darker, far more melancholy guitar and vocal qualities reminscent of bands like Breaking Benjamin. The band’s characteristically incisive technicality returns with renewed vigour in the penultimate song, ‘React’, and the album comes to a close with a re-recorded version of their crowning jewel, ‘Unconscious’.

As a unit, the band are one of the most cohesive up-and-comers we’ve seen for quite some time. Vocalist Matthew Youkhana forms and spits his lyrics with premeditated venom and force, complimenting the power of the band’s three axe-wixards, Andrew Stevens (guitar), Alessandro Sabato (guitar), and Adrian Tate (bass guitar). Drummer Matthew Nekic holds it all down, setting and signalling smooth transitions in pace and providing the foundations for blisteringly heavy riff work. Everything about this album is clear and calculated, each member understands his role in totality: nothing happens by accident. This near-mutual consciousness and their heavily refined approach to the genre are what make DVSR stand out from the crowd.

D.V.S.R is out now on independent release.

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MA English student at the University of Southampton and alternative music correspondent for The Edge.

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