Sunday, 28 April 2013

Devil To Pay - Fate Is Your Muse (album review)

If you like to mope around the house listening to gently sung ballads over delicately plinked notes then I would turn and run in the other direction right now. Without a doubt, 'Fate Is Your Muse' is one of the best hard rock records of this year and will remain so until the bitter end.  If you like fast-paced mood setting heavy rock with chugging riffs and vocals that cannot be ignored, then this is your band.

Devil To Pay know how to set the scene (by the way, every time I say the name out loud I think people are hearing Devil Toupee).  "Prepare to Die" is not only a perfect opening song title, it's a perfect album opener musically as well.  A riff that cannot suppress its own enthusiasm spills out into a mushroom cloud blossom of shredded chords, a catchy chorus and memorable stomp to set a high standard for what's to follow.  And Devil to Pay don't disappoint, they "break your doubts and heave them / across the sky".

"Ten Lizardmen & One Pocketknife" is the kind of song title that should give the reader an idea of the kind of tension and absurdity the band finds expression for in their subject matter.  A less obvious example of this, but no less perfect, is "The Naked Truth", expressing extremity of tension in both music and lyrics.  Driving rhythms and relentlessly churning riffs chew up listeners and spit them out in an intense miasma of beer-stained paranoia.

The apex of this sentiment comes in the form of "This Train Won't Stop", the ectoplasmic embodiment of the spirit of this band, this one's got it all.  While chugging away the lyrics never forget to give the listener something to ponder and chew on, in an almost shamanistic sense.  You think the guy who's flying on a vision quest will be the most incoherent at the party but this is simply not so.  No one is more in tune with the universe and "what's happening" than that guy whose consciousness leaks out of his head like steam to envelop the surrounding environment.  Devil to Pay is that guy.  But there's nothing soft in their approach either, the band knows how to lay a good shit-kicking without getting too uptight about it.  It's just a little something in their bag of tricks, just something they know how to do.  No reason to make a big deal about it, but yeah, don't mess with the shamans.

Menacing guitar and drums roll over the horizon like a deadite army on "Black Black Heart", showing the band at their most contemplative, toying around with different structures, different tempos and feels.  It's hard to imagine they left anything in their bag of tricks.  Devil to Pay don't just feature an expansive consciousness, the musical territory along which they stroll is a vast open country, all of it hard edged.

Steve Janiak's straining and expressive vocals sometimes call to mind Joakim Nilsson of Graveyard, but while both bands pluck inspiration from the decade of wood-paneled vans, vinyl kitchen flooring and long hair, the two bands cannot be compared.  The seventies denim vest of Devil To Pay is draped over a decidedly modern metallic frame.  With that most hirsute of decades as the starting point of both bands, Devil To Pay progress into a heavier, sharper edged eighties sound and beyond, whereas Graveyard seem to regress into the sixties.

This thing is so full of great hooks, catchy choruses and rumbling riffs that it can be almost overwhelming.  Devil to Pay take stoner rock and inject it with heavy metal steroids creating exactly the kind of rock music this reviewer has been looking for forever.

Highlights include: "Wearin' You Down" and "Yes Master"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 49:29

Steve Janiak - Guitar / Vocals
Matt Stokes - Bass
Chad Prifogle - Drums
Rob Hough - Guitar

From: Indianapolis, Indiana

Genre: Hard Rock, Old School Metal, Doom, Stoner

Reminds me of: Black Label Society, Graveyard, Mothership

Release Date: April 9, 2013

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Become the urban shaman and master the art of living large.

Better Review:
Heavy Planet
The Obelisk
Ech(((o)))es and Dust
Sea of Tranquility

Devil To Pay official website

Devil To Pay facebook



1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...