The Devil – The Devil

 

The Devil
The Devil
Released November 12th, 2012
Experimental Black Metal
Candlelight Records

 

So! I do love a bit of home-grown British metal, and with the recent release of both Old Corpse Road and Winterfylleth’s astounding new albums, it seems to be a very good time for British black metal. As you can imagine, I was pleased enough to discover that Candlelight records had just signed and released the first album of an enigmatic new band, called The Devil, who have chosen, like the humongously popular Ghost, to remain completely anonymous. Before reviewing this, their debut, self-titled album, I knew nothing of them, and it’s safe to say that all I know now is that they play some fairly interesting experimental black metal.
An extremely unconventional and instantly noticeable trait seen here is that no real vocals are used until the 6th track, and even then, it is only a spoken word section. Instead, the songs are filled with recordings of news bulletins, political speeches, and even the moon landings. It’s hard to distinguish one song on this album from another – they do tend to flow together. It does serve to an extent to immerse the listener, but is still just far too repetitive to warrant it. I felt very much like there should have been some kind of building atmosphere, but it just… didn’t quite materialise. The music is very minimalistic – drums rarely shift from a simple 4/4 pattern, never once going into blastbeat territory, nor even really making much use of double bass. The guitars are simplistic, and riffs are rare, if they appear at all. Choirs often meander through the background, filling out the fairly small sound, but are nowhere near the epic end of the scale.

When it comes to production, everything sounds clean; perhaps a little too clean, a bit too studio-made. Call me a traditionalist, but the music is just far too polished. It’s not REAL enough. Everything is clear, and clean, but it seems like a very shallow sound.

The whole album… frustrates me. I want it to go somewhere that it stalwartly refuses to go. No real Crescendo, no climax… it just wanders about for its duration and fritters away. Nothing stands out, nothing really changes. While it’s interesting, and indulges in some unusual ideas, it’s just not enough to be a bit odd, minimalistic and Anonymous. Maybe I just don’t get it, but I’ve heard far superior atmospheric, “experimental” black metal, and this just doesn’t cut it. A mask doesn’t make you good.

1.8/5

Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

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