Daeva – Through Sheer Will and Black Magic

Too many blackened thrash bands sound like satanic speed metal nostalgists with the exaggerated image of evil church burners. Not Daeva. They covered Mayhem’s ‘Death Crush’ on their debut EP, and two of the members learned their craft in progressive thrash heavyweights, Vektor. That they have only one prior EP to their name is more surprising than the absence of punk in their music.  Through Sheer Will and Black Magic might be the most chaotic piece of sinister metal you hear all you, but it might also be the most exhausting.

Nobody told Daeva that blackened thrash should stick to only extreme metal influences pre-1985. Yes, they wear the bullet belts and leather jackets and venerate Lucifer in their songs, but they do it through the prism of Dave Mustaine’s fastest riffs on Rust in Peace and the demonic projection of Ihsahn’s vocal stylings. You can smell the sulphur and feel the flames of hell whistling in the background to ‘The Architect and the Monument’. This cacophony of blast beats and rapid scale shredding guitar rhythms are far scarier than the sadistic rock ‘n’ roll of Midnight. Drummer, Enrique Sagarnaga, enjoys following the galloping guitars with the same zeal as the Boko Harum boy scout who shadows federal soldiers on the outskirts of his Nigerian village. A simple volunteer raise of the hand can put you at the front of the action once the smoke and mist of battle commence.

Like Goatwhore’s latest record, you wonder if Daeva remembered their love of Deicide on ‘Arena at Dis’. The inhumane speed and skin-flaying guitar rhythms zoom past like a thousand desert rockets launched with a stagger of only one second between them. It finds satiation in the blood craze of the classic Possessed debut when things settle into a more intelligible tempo. How do they incorporate the extravagance and pomp of classic heavy metal in this and in ‘Passion Under the Hammer’ when the mushroom cloud is only five seconds away? This question would be more poignant if it did not crop up on every other song from track five. Daeva have a major problem, and that is cramming as many lightning fast pentatonic fills into their eight-bar rhythms as possible. It beats listening to atmospheric or dissonant black metal any day, but it also becomes tiring.

You can feel the sweat stinging your eyes after the four minutes of carnage on ‘Polluting the Sanctuary (Revolutions Against Faith)’. ‘Fragmenting in Ritual Splendour’ is more inventive and less concerned with jolting you into submission through sheer force alone. The ugly guitar arpeggio and growling bass offer a welcome contrast to the excess of hammer on/pull off techniques in the opening riff sequence. Vocalist, Edward Gonet, delivers his sermon like the ecstatic preacher who hears the apocalypse in the background and enjoys the prescience of his words, knowing they’ll fulfil a prophecy.

Why this album lacks repeat listening value is hard to say. It’s only thirty-six minutes in length, yet the hectic thrust of the guitars and rabid aggression of the vocals give you no time to breathe. The exhilaration of the first four songs turns to chronic fatigue by the time you reach closing track, ‘Luciferian Return’. That is exactly the point of an uncompromising metal album, but this one floods your brain with an overload of notes and leaves you unable to process them all.  



Release Date: 14/10/2022

Record Label: 20 Buck Spin

Standout tracks: The Architect and the Monument; Arena at Dis; Fragmenting in Ritual Splendour

Suggested Further Listening: Necrofier – Prophecies of Eternal Darkness (2021), Thundering Hooves – Radiance (2022), Vulture – Dealin’ Death (2021)