Lights of Tomorrow

The Devastators

The anticipated 3rd full-length studio album, 14 tracks/70 minutes of original roots reggae and dub with guest appearances by James McWhinney (Big Mountain), Kevin Kinsella (John Brown's Body/10ft. Ganja Plant), and Luis Castillo (P.O.D./Milintica)

The Devastators - Lights of Tomorrow Their debut disc Frontline was plenty impressive. Their followup Better Days managed the not-easy task of topping the first one. Now, with Lights of Tomorrow, this San Diego band reaches and surpasses the bar they set so high. The Devastators' mix of roots reggae, funk and dub has had hometown audiences dancing for more than a decade, and the way they lay down a recorded sound minus any interference from pitch correction or drum machines gives their releases a natural feel that lets the music hit hard and strong. Lead vocalist/bassist Ivan Garzon has a voice that's a perfect combination of soul testifier and reggae mystic, paving the way for guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Brian Teel, keyboardist Alex Somerville (who also expertly produced, mixed and mastered the album) and drummer John Allen to add the rhythmic muscle and melodic hooks that every track here has to spare. Despite their name, the Devastators are more often concerned with edification rather than destruction, as they show on the lovers rock of "Sunshine" and the faith-affirming "I Know" and "Jah Love." Even so, it would be wise to heed warnings like "Shellshock" and "Babylon is Fallen," lest actual devastation be the alternative. The 10 songs here are further enriched by percussionist Eric Hartwell and the guest harmonies of Big Mountain's James McWhinney, ex-John Brown's Body frontman Kevin Kinsella and Luis Castillo (featured on guitar as well) from P.O.D. Plus, in keeping with previous Devastators releases, Lights of Tomorrow wraps up with a few dub versions that bring the inner workings forward and provide deeper layers of pleasure. Get this CD without delay and surrender to the urge to listen repeatedly. -Tom Orr

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Better Days

The Devastators

70 minutes of original reggae music and dub in the vein of 70's era roots reggae. Real instruments and players, no programmed beats, drum machines, or pitch correction.

The Devastators second full-length studio album entitled "Better Days." The album features 15 tracks (over 70min!) of original material by the SD reggae four-piece. Fans of the bands debut album "Frontline" should appreciate the continuity with the new record. Like "Frontline" the album was recorded, mixed and mastered at Peaks and Valleys Studio by Alex Somerville. The services of percussionist Christian Mills were commissioned once again, as was graphic artwork by Rion of lefthandrightmind Creations. A host of other guest musicians make an appearance on the album including James McWhinney (Big Mountain), Elijah Emanuel (Elijah Emanuel & The Revelations), Professor Most, and the horn section of Andy Geib (Wise Monkey Orchestra), Bob Campbell (Big Mountain), and Jason Robinson (Groundation). Fans of 70's roots reggae will appreciate the passion these players have for their tone expressed by the use of live drum and bass and real hammond organ, acoustic piano, clavinet, fender rhodes, and melodica. Check out the audio samples!

The Devastators- “Better Days” Peaks and Valleys Productions, 2008 Review by Tom Orr

A solidly rockers-style drum and bass riddim kicks in, melodica and clavinet add tartness to the beat, sharp guitar stabs skank relentlessly and a singer cries out for solutions to society’s ills. Must be a classic Jamaican track from pre-dancehall days, eh? Nope. It’s the song that kicks off “Better Days”, the latest album from the San Diego-based quartet called the Devastators. And on this, the follow-up to their strong debut “Frontline,” they fulfill the promise of the title by expanding on the many good points of both that first disc and their skills as a band. “Better Days” racks up a 70-minute running time that gives the tracks ample expanse to groove and nothing but real instruments with which to do it. And these guys know how to fill the space without seeming like they’re just filling space. As on “Frontline,” lead guitar and keyboard riffs play off each other to give a funky, slightly rockish edge to the roots. Enhancements this time include more percussion in the mix and the welcome use of horns on three songs. Plus, lead singer/bassist Ivan Garzon has a more assured edge to his vocal style, laying into the songs with a combination of reggae, soul and pop inflections similar to Peter Morgan of Morgan Heritage. Bass-wise he’s absolutely on the mark, cementing a flawless foundation with drummer John Allen that allows guitarist Brian Keel and keys man Alex Somerville to get in some deftly dazzling licks along with the guest players who augment the foursome.

Once again the songs are a combination of consciousness (“Land of Woe,” “Light People”) and spirited observations on the fairer sex (“Why,” “Been a long Time”) that know when to get serious and when to just chuck it all and work your waistline. The Devastators handily devastate any possibility of a second album slump with this killer CD. (www.thedevastators.com)

The Devastators- “Better Days” Peaks and Valleys Productions, 2008 Review by reggae-reviews.com

The Devastators' second album builds on the momentum of Frontline with perhaps a pinch more of consistency. Lead singer Ivan Garzon has a great, emotive voice -- unusually strong for reggae -- and the music is top-notch, reveling in a throwback roots sound and proudly proclaiming that no drum machines or pitch correction technology was utilized in its recording. Fans of Soldiers of Jah Army and John Brown's Body should definitely take heed to this mix of traditional roots with the accessibility of love songs like "Surrender," "Torture," "Why," and "Last Night." "Been a Long Time" is the only track that really steps outside the reggae genre with an R&B/jazz fusion sound. The lead-off tune, "Find a Way," is the highlight of Better Days; it's a classic in the making, a propulsive jam melding vintage guitar, organ, and melodica with a wicked melody and uplifting message. In fact, the first eight tracks all score, particularly the dark "Land of Woe," the churning title track, the seductive "Surrender" and the swaying groove "Light People" (although at first I thought they were singing "White People," which made me cock my head Scooby Doo-like). Five solid dubs round out the set, headed by "Dub Away," a surprisingly slinky, laid-back version of "Find a Way" that highlights the funky guitar, organ, and melodica mix. But don't believe me; listen for yourself at thedevastators.com.

The Devastators- “Better Days” Peaks and Valleys Productions, 2008 Review by Leslie Krouse/ Revolt In Style Magazine

You’ve heard one reggae CD, you’ve heard them all, right, not in this case. ‘Better Days’ features 15 tracks of original music, and has taken classic reggae ska rhythms, and instrumental percussions, then adds a fusion of roots reggae, with modern rock & jazz, that grooves conspicuously into the funky beat of this album. The smooth, sweet voice of Ivan Garzon, along with john, Alex, Brian, and the vast array of incredible talent, brought in to create this true work of reggae art. The title tract ‘Better Day’ is a perfect compilation of methodical lyrics, and pulsating instruments, to create this classic; I have to say this is probably my favorite. Well, then there’s ‘Been a Long Time’ seductive, feel good sound, and ‘Dub Away’ has a very cool hypnotic tempo, with the classic DUB sound, best listened to in an altered state of mind, if you know what I mean. Well, two thumbs up for these local guys, with sounds reminiscent of Steel Pulse, you can’t lose.

The Devastators- “Better Days” Peaks and Valleys Productions, 2008 Review by Todd Kroviak/ San Diego Citybeat

The best reggae acts usually stick to the basics—slow, steady roots rhythms, lots of echo and lyrics about political uprisings and sultry women. The Devastators understand this and, coupled with their superb musicianship, Better Days is about as good as slick, modern reggae can get. The dub tracks that close the album offer melodica that recalls the ghostly, syrupy sounds of Augustus Pablo

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Frontline

The Devastators

The debut album featuring a soulful mix of roots reggae, dub, & a touch of funk,...nearly 70 minutes of music featuring real drum and bass & the old school sounds of Hammond organ, clavinet, and piano.

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"

jahworks.org Review by: Tom Orr 10/31/06

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 Genre: Reggae

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.

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Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach, 400 B St., Encinitas, CA

Saturday October 7th The City of Encinitas presents The Devastators live at Moonlight Beach, CA.  Come catch The Devastators live in the best venue in the world... on the beach!  This is a rare all ages FREE outdoor show featuring full production stage built right on the sand.  We will play 4:30pm to 6pm.  Bring the family and enjoy an afternoon of live reggae in one of San Diego's most beautiful settings.