The Devastators released their long overdue debut album entitled "Frontline" on the Peaks and Valleys Productions label in Nov of 2005. Inspired by classic Roots Reggae from the 70's and early 80's, the album showcases all original material and live instrumentation in a variety of Reggae styles.
Here are some independent reviews of "Frontline"
Review by: Tom Orr
If the name of this band suggests their brand of reggae is on the rough and tough side, such a suggestion would be correct. Not in the same sense as supposed reggae bands who pile on rock and rap side trips to show how bad-ass they are, but rather that the San Diego-based Devastators know how to lay down reggae which packs a punch and still sounds like, well, reggae. Not an easy balancing act, but the band pulls it off by stoking their hard roots riffs with a soul/funk underpinning and consistently propulsive drums and bass.
Their use of clavinet and Hammond organ recalls the vintage aura of '70s Wailers or Jack Ruby-produced sounds, always with enough kick to keep them from sounding like a mere throwback. Bassist/lead vocalist Ivan Garzon sings like a less meditative version of Groundation's Harrison Stafford and flawlessly holds down the bottom in tandem with drummer John Allen as Alex Somerville (keyboards) and Brian Teel (guitar) supply sharp skanking jabs and melodic runs. Guest players Siah Dowlatshahi (guitar) and Christian Mills (percussion) add further fire throughout.
There are ten songs and three dubs on Frontline, and though the band are at their best on socially and spiritually conscious material like the title track and "Jah Fly," the few love and lust tangents they get off on are good as well. This, the Devastators' debut disc, is an impressive start for a band that both embraces and shakes up a true reggae foundation.
*** reggae-reviews.com ***
The Devastators are a roots quartet who have attracted a following in the San Diego, California area, thanks to a vibrant sound and superb musical craftsmanship. They strike a marvelous (and marvelously hard to accomplish) balance between accessibility to reggae novices and allure to genre snobs by delivering catchy melodies and groovy love songs alongside searing, cultural jams with a sound rooted in the classic '70s stylee. Lead singer Ivan Garzon's vocals are soulful and endearing (only reaching its limit with the occasional chat/rap), ranging from Marley-esque wails (akin to Jacob Hemphill from Soldiers of Jah Army) to Jamiroquai-like crooning. The beautifully performed music remains gleefully true to reggae's classic sound -- see the grooving ska track "Oppressor Man" -- while throwing in a touch of the new school -- as on the ambitious (and mostly successful) stab at dancehall "Waistline." I don't know who the "powers that be" are, but they need to pay attention to the Devastators. Their incurably catchy sound screams "hit" after "hit"; try listening to tunes like "New Day," "Love Is Gone," "You Possess," or the title track and not start your toes a-tappin'. Go ahead: thedevastators.com.
To learn more about the band we encourage you to visit our website http://www.thedevastators.com
*** Revolt in Style Magazine ***
The Devastators: Frontline
This CD gets a lot of play at my house. If you like Barrington Levy's style with a Bob Marley/Peter Tosh mentality you are going to love this album. This four-piece band is from right here in SD although if you heard them you would think they were straight out of Jamaica. The roots rock reggae style and spirit is alive and well with this band. They even switch it up by kicking in a latin style and droppin a little Spanish in the mix. I haven't seen these guys live yet I will make it a point to get to one the first chance I get. The band was nominated in the San Diego Music Awards in 2004 for Best of World Music. You can catch these guys at most of the prominent venues in San Diego. Check out show times and info at www.thedevastators.com or on my space at www.myspace.com/thedevastators.
*** Jammin Reggae Archives/niceup.com ***
Devastators - Frontline
Review by Rick Anderson
This San Diego-based five-piece has honed its tight sound over the course of four years in residency at various popular local clubs. Often, when a band with a strong local following releases an album it sounds half-baked and premature; with these guys, you listen to the album and wonder what took them so long. With the exception of the rather lackluster "All That & More," there's really not a single weak track here: whether it's the Spanglish loverman come-on of "Anything for You," the galloping ska of "Oppressor Man" or the sassy dancehall of "Waistline," the Devastators communicate a seemingly effortless mastery of the genre and an infectious enthusiasm, as well as prodigious chops. The dub versions are all fun, if not world-shaking. Highly recommended.