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If Linkin Park had ditched Chester Bennington, kept Mike Shinoda as their solo vocalist, added a few strings to their guitars, down-tuned everything, and played mainly breakdowns, you would get Sydney’s DVSR.
Up until recently they were known as Devastator (which is both a name shared by a host of other bands and a giant badass Transformer from the golden days of the animated series), and as far as the local scenes go, these guys have had a fair bit of hype surrounding them. And you know what? Much like Fallout 4, the hype is pretty real here, folks.
In a nutshell, their self-titled album sounds kind of like Sworn In, just minus all of the whining and identity crisis bullshit. Oh, and DVSR are much, much heavier and punchier, obviously. Style-wise, the nu-metal vibe is strong with this one, yet it merges with the metalcore tropes of today to make it very cool and unique. So maybe it goes without saying, but if you didn’t like nu-metal back in it’s heyday, and modern metalcore gives you the willies, well maybe give this a skip. However, if you dig metalcore and/or nu-metal, than this album has basically been hand-crafted for your ears. The fast-paced vocal lines from vocalist Matthew Youkhana are delivered with real venom and passion, and it suits the music perfectly. The djent-inspired guitars and their multiple layers of down-tuned and clean parts works very well in conjunction with one another. The drums and bass are just so, so tight together, and, as a result, the grooves of these songs are monolithic and damn near impossible to resist. Whether it’s the vicious and bouncy ‘Six Figures Deep’, the melodic and dark ‘Remission’, or the fucking epic closer, ‘Unconscious’, this album is just golden the whole way through.
Now, DVSR have always been compared by many a listener to England’s Hacktivist, and while the comparisons won’t stop with this release, these guys have the leg up over their English counterparts. First of all, these dudes actually have a debut album out. Take that, Hacktivist. Secondly, they mostly only utilise the one vocalist, which keeps things rather consistent, save for a couple songs that help to create a good contrast. Finally, the band hasn’t really relied on releasing cover songs to keep people’s attention (though that ‘Niggas In Paris’ cover is an absolute jam, let’s be real). Thus, may the score forever show: DVSR-3, Hacktivist-0.
Finally, is it a coincidence that DVSR and Earth Caller are doing a dual headline tour, and both of their new albums have scored the exact same, that is to say, quite high? Yes, as he thinks that these bands are both fine examples of what the Australian scene is capable of, and DVSR’s debut displays the high level of quality that all of their peers should aim to achieve in their own releases.
Very few bands sound like DVSR do, and this debut album more than makes up for the long wait and hype surrounding the band. It also keeps them in this very unique place in the scene. The grooves and riffs are huge and immensely solid, the production is just superb, and the songs contain so much energy packed inside the 40-minute run-time, so much so that it’s 40 minutes that this reviewer will be re-living for a long time coming.
1. I V I
2. Six Figures Deep
3. Fatal Attraction
5. Beneath The Skin
6. Life And Death
8. Hooded Race
9. The Forked Tongue