Devil Sold His Soul
A Fragile Hope


4.5
superb

Review

by Luke M. Jenkins (Confessed) USER (58 Reviews)
February 2nd, 2008 | 42 replies | 6,215 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A masterful amalgamation of unconventional metalcore, post metal, ambience and beauty. A Fragile Hope is crushingly haunting and beautiful - a truly magnificent debut album for the UK band.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Devil Sold His Soul make some pretty unique music. As far as I know, I've never really come across a band, apart from perhaps some elements in modern Fear Before the March of Flames, that sounds quite like this. Imagine a hybrid of post metal titans Isis and one of the more dynamic metalcore acts, maybe Architects or even The Always Open Mouth era FBTMOF. Thats a rough idea of what Devil Sold His Soul produce. However, there is a lot more to it than that.

A Fragile Hope is the UK band's debut full length. Suffice to say, it's an almost flawless execution of atmosphere and dynamics, interspersed with emotional intensity and beautiful, haunting moments that can't help but captivate your imagination. After the short opening track of In the Absence of Light, As The Storm Unfolds rages forth from the speakers, collapsing everything around you. Ed Gibbs' demonic screams are incredibly intense. He sort of reminds me of a less fierce Jacob Bannon - but what sets Ed apart from the crowd is his superb clean vocals. As far as I'm concerned, these clean vocals are some of the best in any metalcore band. You'll find little to no whine and he employs a fantastic range. They're never overused either - when they come in halfway through As the Storm Unfolds, you can't help but think they fit just perfectly. Instrument wise, the band are also on top of their game. Everything here has, quite evidently, been constructed in meticulous fashion. Guitars are driving, employing a less conventional hardcore/metalcore approach, sticking mostly to chord progressions that help to emulate a sense of despair and hopelessness. However, during the calmer, more interlude-esque sections of songs, post metal leads and such are commonplace. Devil Sold His Soul's rhythm section is nothing overtly technical or mindblowing but the bass and drums are nevertheless prominent. Iain Trotter's bass rumbles behind the guitars, providing an unbelievably thick low end. Quite frequently, he bursts out with lines of his own, most notably in the introduction to The Starting, further highlighting the versatility of the band's sound. I'd say the drumming is most comparable to Isis - steady beats, coupled with infrequent but interesting and never out of place fills. Put simply, it works. The band have no need to over complicate matters - as I said before, the meticulous construction of every track, apart from being admirable, is most definitely noticeable.

Another thing that cannot go unmentioned is the atmosphere throughout the album. It's dense, dark and at times does convey a sense of hope. Yet in the end, as another track rolls by, that hope is crushed by the sheer weight of the atmosphere, due largely in part to the excellent samples of Paul Kitney. The outro to Sirens Chant is nothing short of epic - a wall of sound, complimented perfectly by the soft ambience in the background. But in stark contrast, At the End of the Tunnel obliterates any sense of positive thought with it's crushingly heavy guitar riffs, dark ambience and driving rhythms. Yet the brutal delivery of some songs is juxtaposed wonderfully with the beautiful, yet often haunting and ominous tracks. Between Two Words is a masterclass of build up, with it's introduction luring you into a false sense of security, right before those chord progressions kick in and Ed's fantastic clean vocals rise out of the chaos. Much in the same vein as Isis, Devil Sold His Soul create music that is both challenging and lengthy. Whilst this may cause problems for some, I'm certain that all the song length are appropriate. Between Two Words, coming in at just under eight minutes, is the longest song on the album. Yet it never bores or drags. The overall flow of the band and the album in particular is marvelous. Shorter tracks pack an almighty wallop - the opening drum beat of Awaiting the Flood is nothing short of excellent and the sheer brutality and attack of the guitars is of mind numbing proportions. Of course, layer Ed's despairing screams and cries over the top and you have the soundtrack that could easily signify the end of existence.

I'm not sure if A Fragile Hope is meant to be a concept album. Put into context, the way that everything flows and the musical theme that runs across the entire album would lead me to believe that it was. The question remains unanswered but what I can safely say is that everything compliments each other perfectly. In terms of lyrics, whilst you may not be able to hear them all too well, they definitely enhance the music. It seems that there is a lot of comparison to love and the nature of the earth - whether I'm correct remains to be seen but thats the feeling I get. Well worth a look to be fair, as they are hardly cliche and definitely help to conjure up some wonderful imagery, suited perfectly to the music.

Devil Sold His Soul have released a monster of an album. It's intricate, wonderfully written, beautiful, crushing and haunting all at the same time. If you're looking for something completely different to what is usually coming out of the metalcore and post hardcore scenes, then give this band a listen. Their unique approach to progressive and atmospheric metal is, at times, simply breathtaking.

Recommended Tracks
As the Storm Unfolds
At the End of the Tunnel
Between Two Words
Awaiting the Flood

But really, get the album. As a complete set of songs, A Fragile Hope demands your attention.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Crimson
February 2nd 2008



1935 Comments


Good review, really made me interested in this, off I go to find some samples!

combustion07
February 2nd 2008



5303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I check out a couple of song, I'll probably end up getting this though, your review has convinced me.

MediocreAtBest
February 2nd 2008



1473 Comments


So this is where you get your avatar. This sounds cool, will check it out. If I remember.

TrickStyle
February 2nd 2008



1 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I thought this review could well have been composed by a pre-pubescent strawberry blonde child with the intellect of death metaler .other than that it was alyrt.

MediocreAtBest
February 2nd 2008



1473 Comments


Did you seriously just troll like that with your first post?

TheStarclassicTreatment
February 2nd 2008



2909 Comments


Give him a break, TrickStyle is a bad enough name ato have to live with...
Seriously, great review man, unna check this fer sureThis Message Edited On 02.02.08

jrowa001
February 2nd 2008



8749 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review man, this is a cool cd. havent listened to it though for a long time. thanks for reminding me that i have this

EDIT: just put this on, damn this is better than i remembered. im only one the 3rd song so far but i think i might bump this to a 4.5 if it stays awesome all the way through.

i want to check out their earlier EP nowThis Message Edited On 02.02.08

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
February 2nd 2008



4925 Comments


album cover art is pretty terrible

plane
Staff Reviewer
February 2nd 2008



6073 Comments


This is solid.

combustion07
February 2nd 2008



5303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I got a couple songs, I like what I'm hearing, I'm picking this up SOON.

Confessed2005
February 2nd 2008



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Evidently, trick style knows me personally.

Meh.

Confessed2005
February 2nd 2008



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Except I'm pretty sure being 17 years old is pretty much past puberty.

MediocreAtBest
February 2nd 2008



1473 Comments


Wow, I think I'm one of the oldest members.

hermitspancho
February 2nd 2008



277 Comments


The EP was a free (legal) download from Gomek records. They've got a couple other good things on there as well

http://www.gomek.com/This Message Edited On 02.02.08

Confessed2005
February 2nd 2008



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How old are you MediocreAtBest?

MediocreAtBest
February 2nd 2008



1473 Comments


Turning 21 in 5 months.

Crimson
February 2nd 2008



1935 Comments


older than me... by just a little bit though.This Message Edited On 10.03.08

MediocreAtBest
February 2nd 2008



1473 Comments


So it's all good for adults to be active Sputnikers. Phew.

Crimson
February 2nd 2008



1935 Comments


Meh, I'm about as mature as a teletubby, so you can hardly call me an 'adult' ;)

Confessed2005
February 2nd 2008



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hahaha.

Nice.



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