In addition to all the thrash I've been listening to lately, I've been reminded of a number of European hardcore bands that I hadn't listened to in a good bit of time. A few Deviate tracks keep popping up on my iPod lately, and "State of Grace" has always been my favorite of their albums. The band formed in Belgium circa 1991, and this was their fourth full-length (they dropped their fifth and final album in 2002), released in 1999 by I Scream Records (Too Damn Hype released it in the US a year or so later). While a number of their other albums are worth acquiring, for me this is the one record where the stars aligned and everything came together perfectly: The production, the songwriting, the energy and atmosphere, etc. They weren't exactly breaking new ground, but this is a perfectly balanced slab of metallic hardcore. You've got your chugging grooves and gruff vocals; your stripped down, fast-paced hardcore; your thrashy picking patterns with just a little hint of a death metal lean (as opposed to some of the other Belgian bands that utilized much more blatant death metal influences), etc. But there are actually some really fuckin' catchy hooks on this thing, so you get all the best qualities of bands like Madball or Biohazard, but wrapped up in a darker and more metal-influenced approach that still remains firmly rooted in hardcore. While I don't hear Deviate mentioned all that often these days, I believe they reached a very decent level of popularity in their time, and they certainly remain deserving of attention even today. I know I'm not really saying much here, but the whole point is to simply introduce people to bands they may have missed out on "back in the day", so... check out a few tunes below and do some more digging if you like 'em.
While no longer readily available, you can thankfully still score cheap used copies (or mp3's) via Amazon.com, so... pick one up while you still can if you've been sleeping on these guys for the last decade or two!