Devitalized comes smashing into the deathcore scene with their newest single entitled “Godslayer,” featuring a familiar Tom Barber from Chelsea Grin and Darko US. Devitalized is an unsigned band hailing from Massachusetts, which consists of members John-Paul Ratta (vocals), Jonathan Godbout (drums), Zack Devens (lead guitar), Joseph Ratta (rhythm guitar), and Caleb Pels (bass).
“Godslayer” wastes no time getting up in your face and punching you in the guts. If you aren’t making a ‘stank face’ within the first few seconds of this song, I’d genuinely be wondering if we are hearing the same song. On this single, the guitars chug you to the point of claustrophobia while the drums are frantically raising your heartbeat to the point where you might need to call a doctor. Vocally, Devitalized delivers the stereotypical high shrieks and growly lows you’d hear in most deathcore, however they have a little bit of a hardcore style to them as the vocalist really sounds like he’s yelling his soul out.
Approaching the mid-way point in the song, the almighty Tom Barber makes his appearance, doing what he does best (which is making you wish he screamed you lullabies to sleep). Seriously, if there was such a thing as “beauty” in extreme vocals, Tom Barber has to be in the conversation. Truly a master of technique & style, he delivers you to hell, then brings you back just so he can cast The Queen’s Black Flame on your tarnished soul.
Lyrically, this song is based on the FromSoftware game, Elden Ring. When asked about the song lyrics, vocalist John-Paul Ratta stated: "Originally, the song was not going to be called Godslayer and it was not going to be related to Elden Ring. The original plan was to name it Deadset and have it be about kings and queens. However, a few days before a Chelsea Grin show, I was playing Elden Ring and got an idea to rewrite the track to make it a deathcore video game styled track. I changed the lyrics and found the flow for the song. I showed the band the track at the show and they loved it. Tom made some changes and re-wrote the lyrics, resulting in the final track. I wanted to name it something from the game, and chose Godslayer, inspired by my favorite weapon in the game, the Godslayer’s Greatsword."
Devitalized left a little bit of an impression on me after listening to this single, and even though I enjoyed most of it I believe there were a few parts that I feel like kept it from being truly next-level. For instance, while the guitars do punch you upside the head with the chugging, that is pretty much all the guitars do the entire song. At the 2:00 minute mark there is some cool Dealer-esq chaotic riffing going on and I feel like if there was more of that it would’ve brought it up a peg. I get it, it’s deathcore we’re talking about, but if you take a band like Lorna Shore for example, while they do have plenty of chug-filled breakdowns, it is carefully sprinkled over top of very beautiful guitar solos and fast technical melodic riffs. Nothing is wrong with chugging yourself to the mosh pit, but when it is tastefully put in with some variety of other inspired guitar riffs it makes it hit all that much harder. Vocally, I believe there were a few lines that were over-layered to the point where it is unfaithful to the vocalist and his tone, as underneath the layers it does sound like vocalist John-Paul Ratta has a unique style to his voice.
Despite these few gripes, “Godslayer” does what the Godslayer’s Greatsword is able to pull off in the game, and that is to completely drain you of your vigor. The drummer is probably the highlight of the song for me personally. Jonathan Godbout really pummels you into something like The Lake of Scarlet Rot from Elden Ring. Devitaled, while being very new to the scene, are swinging hard already with good songwriting and a solid group of musicians behind it. “Godslayer” comes in, slays gods, gives you a nice vigor check, and it shows just how universal (and busy) Chelsea Grin/Darko US vocalist Tom Barber can be. I very much enjoyed checking this band out and reviewing this single, and I look forward to future releases from this band, especially if more songs end up being Elden Ring inspired as I believe that’s such a great theme.