Review Summary: British underground ambient metal heroes Devil Sold His Soul take the word "epic" to a depressing, yet beautiful new level on their debut full-length.
Look at that haunting image of a drowning woman on the front of A Fragile Hope. You know from the start that this isn't going to be a cheery affair. Take the CD out of the case, put it in your stereo, and lie down. Close your eyes.
Open them. You're lying on a dusty floor in an very small and unfamilar building. The building is ruined; you know this because pieces of the age-old stone wall litter the floor around you, and a large portion of the roof is missing, allowing drops of rain to fall onto your face from the ominous grey sky above. In the distance, thunder rumbles. Lying there for a few minutes, taking in your surroundings, you surmise that the thunder is getting nearer. Slowly, you rise to your feet and make your way out of the building, through a hole in the wall. Looking around, you realise you're well and truly lost, and a sickening feeling begins to rise in your gut. The building is situated in the midst of a huge expanse of bleak moorland, and turning round, you realise that you're mere miles from a coastline, as unfamiliar as the building you woke up in. The sea seems to stretch out forever, grim, still and grey, reflecting the gathering storm clouds above.
Instinctively, you turn away from the dark sea and head inland. Nothing but the same empty moorland as far as the horizon. The thunder is getting much nearer now, and the wind is picking up. It might be just your ears playing tricks on you, but you could swear you can hear strange unearthly howls being carried towards you on the steadily increasing wind... Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, the sky opens up, lightning strikes, and the rains comes barrelling down in sheets. The sound is deafening, and the downpour is so intense that you can barely see three feet in front of you. Frantically, you run back to the relative shelter of the ruined building , and after what seems like hours (or could it have been minutes? Days? It's hard to say...), you reach the stone wall and take shelter under the remaining section of roofing.
After a while, a huge roll of thunder, much bigger than all those that preceded it, signals the strangely sudden end of the storm. Looking out, the sickening feeling begins to rise again, as you notice that the building is far closer to the coast than it had been before. A second look brings the realisation that the tide is coming in fast. The landscape seems even more impossibly bleak than before. The light rain that remains after the storm makes a low hiss as it hits the puddles of muddy water that litter the surrounding land, and the unearthly cries of earlier have been reduced to plaintive distant howls, now and then disguised by a large gust of wind. The tide is moving further in, fast, and it seems the storms is gathering for another attack. The sickening feeling turns into fear, and you begin to run inland. Nature itself seems to sense this, and the storm breaks again, the wind begins to blow rain into your face like shards of glass, and the tide rapidly continues its advance.
Tripping in potholes, falling onto rocks, frantically scrambling to your feet, with almost zero visibility, you continue to run desperately away from the elements that attack you, but it seems they're coming from all sides. Throwing yourself forwards for the final time, you trip again, striking your head on a rock.
You wake up. You're lying face up in a pool of stagnant water. The landscape is still as empty as it was before, but the sun is shining brightly down on your face. Slowly you rise to your feet. You don't know where you are, or where to go, but somehow you don't care. You feel as if a giant wave has washed over you and now everything is calm peaceful. But looking into the distance, you see a storm gathering...
thanks guys! i pretty much just took the mental images i had while listening to the album for the first time, and sort of went into a bit more descriptive detail to get across the mood of the album. just felt like doing something a little different from my usual reviews i guess!
24.05.2008 - In a recent re-evaluation of my reviews, I've changed the rating for this album from a 4.5 to a 4This Message Edited On 05.23.08
I'm going to be reviewing Shels album. They're singer was in a band with some of the members of this band. Also they have members of Eden Maine. These guys are alright but I don't like the way they produced the vocals.
I'm not much of a fan of the concept reviews, but this is was nicely written, though I still didn't know what I was getting myself into after I read this and after listening to their myspace, I'm not sure if a concept review is what this called for. I'm not going to rate either way, but you can do better.
I really, really like what I heard on their myspace, so I'll probably get this soon.
If only albums were as good as the reviews themselves...............! Your review made me expect something unique. These guys are just garbage. Besides the quieter passages, their music is so unoriginal, its not even funny.
I think actually DSHS have come a very long way and created their own niche' sound really well, but each to their own.
You just have to accept that their sound is a very stripped down, brooding and ever building one. Their style is just to build and build but by over using simple foundations rather than being particularly extravagant or over the top. add this with a fantastic production job, and you have an incredibly atmospheric piece of music, and that's what I (and many others) believe this is.
As for the vocals comment, he does indeed have a very good singing voice, but I don't think it would work if he used it all the time. The point is, is that DSHS have generally a very cathartic, atmospheric sound, and melodic vocals all the time I just don't think would work. No, technically his screaming voice isn't the best ever but I think it works brilliantly in the context of this band and record.
My band supported them a couple weeks ago, it was for me anyway, quite an honour
This was a great review, but I have absolutely no clue what this album sounds like. Honestly, the comments gave me more insight into this band then the actual review did. Still, it was beautifully written, so I'll vote.
tbh, when i started this review i realised quickly that it'd describe the dynamics of the record much more than it'd describe the actual music, but i'd argue that the music itself is reasonably simplistic, and the record is much more about mood and dynamics than it is about notes, beats, and words.
that said, i appreciate the comments/criticism, although i won't be doing too many reviews like this, it's pretty much a one-off on my part.