Jul 12, 2012

The Devil's Blood 'The Thousandfold Epicentre' review

THE DEVIL'S BLOOD
'The Thousandfold Epicentre'
(Van Records)

Retro 60’s/70’s psychedelic rock throwback seems to be somewhat on the rise lately. With bands such as Ghost, Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony and Year Of The Goat and such you’re spoilt for choice. The Devil’s Blood were one of the first to appear on the scene with their sublime debut EP “Come Reap” full of memorable hooks and awash with psychedelia, and they’re back to show everyone how it’s supposed to be done. 
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, The Devil’s Blood are an occult obsessed act from the Netherlands peddling their wares from the Jefferson Airplane, Coven, Black Widow and even Hawkwind’s school of rock. So basically, expect lyrics which would have your local priest running for his crucifix and traditional rock arrangements supplemented with long meandering passages of abstract psychedelic fuzz.

So onto the music itself, let’s be frank, debut full length “The Time of No Time Evermore” was just above average, only saved by one or two fantastic songs while suffering from a large amount of filler. “The Thousandfold Epicentre” is a vastly different and superior affair. From the utterly majestic and almost ceremonial “On the Wings of Gloria” (Ignoring the throwaway intro) right through to the fifteen minute labyrinth, “Feverdance”, “The Thousandfold Epicentre” almost never lets up the quality.

F., the band’s vocalist is what really sets them out from the crowd though; just take the closing vocal patterns in “On the Wings of Gloria”, they’re absolutely sublime and chillingly seductive. Couple this with the ever increasing sonic tidal wave of scuzzy distortion and compelling bass work and you have something very special indeed. Other highlights throughout include “Cruel Lover” with its initially snappy rhythm and subtle guitar work before descending into three minutes of obscurity. “She” has some fantastic lead work and vocal lines which slowly embed their claws in a little further each listen. “The Madness of Serpents” is probably the strongest track here. A simmering melody that just flat out radiates evil for its backbone and effect laden guitar work shimmering throughout before succumbing to a spacey, chromatic instrumental oddity which almost feels improvised, as a some of this album tends to feel at times, like a live performance without the crowd. “Feverdance” though I just don’t get, half a song of almost inaudible guitar twiddlings and sparse vocals before eventually coming to end with some pretty average instrumental work, what’s the point? Filler for the sake of it.

One thing that certainly can’t be faulted with these guys is the sheer effort put into the packaging. If you were one of the ones who got the 8/9” CD edition will know what I mean. A thirty six page showcase of artwork and lyrics which I must add is fantastic, it really makes this album feel like something special, and it is.

It’s also welcome every once in a while to come across a band in the rock/metal end of the spectrum who don’t solely exist to exploit the fact their vocalist is female. The Devil’s Blood are genuine to the core. They’ve improved vastly upon “The Time of No Time Evermore”, the song writing is more audacious and utilises some great experimentation. Yes a lot of it harks back to bygone times, but at the same time they manage to make it appear fresh and put paid to the claim they’re just a nostalgia act. Maybe before, but the truth is they’re much, much more than that now. [9]
(Chris Cowgill)



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