Friday 22 March 2013

Devil - Gather The Sinners (Album Review)



Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 22/3/2013
Label : Soulseller
Gather the Sinners, album tracklisting:
1). Southern Son 6:14
2) Beyond the Gate 6:27
3) They Pale 3:28
4) Legacy 5:00
5) Restless Wanderer 4:26
6) Lead Me Astray 1:53
7) Ladies of the Night 5:20
8) Darkest Day 3:17
9) Mother Shipton Pt. I 4:42
10) Mother Shipton Pt. II 3:51
11) Demons on the Wheel 3:57
12) Coffin Regatta 4:14
Devil formed in 2009. They are from Nes, Akershus Norway. They are also a five piece band with the members having an impressive nine‘other’ current and previous projects. For quite a new band Devil have been busy making a name for themselves in the world of doom metal. Having supported Electric Wizard and released three recordings on Dutch label Soulseller records. They play a classic sounding Doom metal with sprinklings of NWOBHM. Devil are also heavily into the occult with their whole sound and image, they place themselves tightly in with bands like Blood Ceremony and the fantastic Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. The new release, a compilation of songs from their original self released demo, The noble Savage single and their first full length Time to Repent.
Line - up
Stian Fossum - guitar
Ronny Østli - drums
Thomas Ljosaak - bass
Kai Wanderås - guitar
Joakim Trangsrud - vocals
It's been about a year and a half since the release of 'Time To Repent', the punkish retro rockin' debut album from Norwegian doomsters Devil.   ‘Gather the Sinners’ is a strong sequel, continuing the strong punk/doom identity established on the debut while adding texturally to their sonic palate.  From the rad cover art through to songs like “Restless Wanderer” and “Ladies of the Night”, a newfound proto-metal vibe haunts the affair.

Much like the early progression of Iron Maiden, the collective mind of Devil appears to be slowly transitioning from a punk ethos to a more metal one.  Make no mistake, Devil continue to be the satanic bastard punk children of Black Sabbath, with this side of the band rearing its Mohawked head on “They Pale” and “Darkest Days”, but the band adds doses of early Metallica here or there, slows the ingredients down by half, and voila!  A doomy NWOBHM sound emerges.   Where the last album relied on catchiness from the vocal melody and tight, short structures to carry the songs, this one relies on bigger riffs and more adventurous soundscapes.

While comparing the two albums, just on the surface, a few stats jump out at you.  The new album is seventeen minutes longer but only adds a pair of songs to `TTR`s total of ten.   Seven of the twelve tracks on `GTS` eclipse the four minute mark whereas four on the predecessor fail to crack three minutes.   Right away you can see this is a far more substantial effort altogether.  Where `TTR`s cover artwork featured stark graphic design with lots of negative space, `GTS` is busier, there's more going on, it's altogether darker, sketchier and less graphic.  With all this in mind, let's press play on the new record.
Indeed, you can hear it straight away.  Metal rules the day here, the riffs are slower, doomier and heavier than before, but they’ve still got plenty of driving force behind them.  The band launch into a shredding lead on the bridge of opening track “Southern Sun” throwing down the metal gauntlet with Pentagram as their patron saint.  The band then weaves its way “Beyond the Gate”, continuing the barrage of big riffs, and big structures. 

The tone is then set for the rest of the album with this combo of opening cuts.  It’s a solid one two punch, one that I doubt most people familiar with the band were expecting.  Still, there are some ‘expected’ moments on the record.  “Legacy” sounds as though it comes straight from the ‘TTR’ era with its catchy vocal melody, driving riff and punkish energy.  But the band gets right back to the metal with “Restless Wanderer”, it’s one of the standout tracks on the record, with a good ‘bangin’ riff and a drunken shout-along chorus.  Devil takes a medieval inspired mandolin break on “Lead Me Astray” which for some reason is more metal than anything else on the record. 

One could easily imagine this type of interlude on an old metal album, but you couldn’t possibly imagine this song on a punk record, any punk record.  It’s pretty clear at this point who Devil have sold their collective souls to.  The song “Demons on Wheels”  is one of the finest cuts on the album with a highly memorable guitar solo.
All in all, a satisfying array of air guitar headbangery, ‘Gather the Sinners’ makes an appropriate soundtrack to a goat sacrifice.  I’d say as a full album ‘Gather the Sinners’ blows ‘Time To Repent’ out of the water.  The first had more than its fair share of great moments but for consistency and pure diesel-chugging firepower, give me the new one.

Words : Lucas Klaukien

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the CD and vinyl is available here. Thanks to Jan @ SureShotWorx and Jorn @ Soulseller for hooking us up with the record.