Dutch technical death metal supergroup Apophys are back once again. For those who aren’t familiar with them, Apophys is composed of members who play/have played in Prostitute Disfigurement, Toxocara and God Dethroned. Having a pedigree behind them in terms of reputation and ability, Apophys have shared the stage with a whole raft of similar bands including titans in the genre; Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus, Vader and Hate Eternal to name but a few! With this in mind, be aware that this album, “Devoratis” is the band’s second full length, a follow up to the incredibly brutal and powerful ‘Prime Incursion’ and it’s a bold effort – a technical death metal, Sci-Fi themed concept album. So let’s` get down to it.

“Devoratis” in a nutshell is your standard Sci-Fi B-Movie in a 36 minute serving of brutally delivered technical death metal. With the reliable and sometimes overused plot device of an omnipotent dictator like entity, a pawn of theirs having something at fault, punishment and a sentient being who helps the pawn attain vengeance and some form of apocalyptic proportioned battle… It’s fairly straight forward and right up Apophys’ alley when it comes to themes (I did say their first album would be the soundtrack for the apocalypse!).

Musically, it’s what you expect – plenty of cutting edge riffs, mammoth sounds, crushing drums, shifting rhythmic assaults and some seriously raw and powerful vocal work. The usual curse of Technical Death Metal strikes here – there is a very familiar air to the tracks given the musical delivery, but there is a sense of uniqueness to them at the same time, be it the slight variations in vocal delivery or musical execution… But there’s nothing stand-out. The blastbeats are relentless, the tone of the guitars is cutting and crushing where required and the vocal delivery is dynamic, from rasp to growl to roar with minimal effort.

“Children Of the Stars” is a fierce opening statement of a track, “Xiux – The Parasite” has the atmospheric and oppressive feel to it and “Deadlock” acts as a great build-up feel track whilst simultaneously acting like a freight train sized musical battering ram! The whole release is a solid musical offering, but to me, it just lacks the same spark that the debut release had.

So yes, “Devoratis” is a dose of hard hitting, brutal and precise technical death metal delivered to a high standard once again and it does have a well delivered story tied up there within the lyrics, but it just doesn’t have the same overwhelming presence that ‘Prime Incursion’ held.

(7/10 Fraggle)