Devil Sold His Soul
Empire Of Light


2.5
average

Review

by fish CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
September 20th, 2012 | 219 replies | 15,712 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Devil Sold His Soul fail to meet the potential they so obviously have, releasing an album which misses the balance between atmosphere and heavier sections and ultimately proves a boring listen

One of the most celebrated bands still milling about underneath more successful, but not necessarily more deserving, bands in the British rock scene, Devil Sold His Soul have delighted loyal fans with a gorgeous integration of beautiful atmosphere and crushing metal over the course of one EP and two full-length albums. Debut A Fragile Hope was a dark, claustrophobic record, menacing in its lo-fi production but rewarding in all the little details that came out from deeper listening. 2010’s follow up, Blessed & Cursed, deservingly clustered together new fans with a more fine tuned and larger sound than the debut, which allowed the band more space to experiment with the broad potential of their sound. All signals have pointed to Devil Sold His Soul being a band on the up.

It’s no surprise then that the band’s third album, Empire of Light, has received so much drooling anticipation. Bands willing to experiment this much in this area and still provide consistently high quality music are relatively uncommon, and album opener/first single “No Remorse, No Regrets” is just the mixture of tempestuous chords and demonic screams that fans would have wanted. From the opening swell of guitars in the distance to Ed Gibbs’s opening howled scream, to the onslaught of the guitars and their gorgeous tone to the lighter ambient sections that crash back to the ground with the re-entry of the electrics and bass, the song on its own is a contender for song of the year and should have been a glorious sign of things to come. But afterwards, Devil Sold His Soul seem to have forgotten their purpose.

Whereas clean vocals accompanied lighter parts of Blessed & Cursed for an added edge, on Empire of Light they are perpetuated throughout the album (especially on second single “A New Legacy”), ruining the crushing atmosphere and stormy guitar tone that Devil Sold His Soul seem to have been aiming for. It doesn’t help that the melodies aren’t particularly remarkable anyway. The band’s atmosphere seems to have taken a backwards step in general too. Dull guitar tremolo-ing takes the centre stage of most of these sections and so instead of the cold and beautiful “Frozen” or the devastating “A Foreboding Sky”, we have the boring and predictable “Salvation Lies Within”, which opens with a simple electronic rhythm before opening to reverberated tremolos, background synthesisers and soft, sickly, polished clean singing, but little else. In fact, most musical parts seem to have regressed. Unlike the clear variety of Blessed & Cursed, most of the songs seem to blend into one, sewn together through a homogenous and persistent mush of guitar chords and sung melodies. Moreover, the harmony between atmosphere and the guitars that Devil Sold His Soul have so perfectly achieved before on songs such as “The Disappointment” and “Drowing/Sinking” is nowhere near as prolific. Excluding the aforementioned opener, it is only truly achieved on “Time and Pressure”, which is the most successful track as far as ‘tempest’-like atmosphere and this balance go. A thick bass rings throughout the song’s multiple sections and Ed Gibbs screams enough to complement the menacing atmosphere created by more prominent synthesisers and dual tremolos intertwining as the song reaches its gloriously haunting climax.

Devil Sold His Soul have released what is, overall, less varied and interesting music than they are used to. The addition of significantly more sung vocals has drastically undone the balance and the guitar work is duller than before without the darkness of A Fragile Hope to make up for it. Despite the gem that is “No Remorse, No Regrets” and a few interesting parts here and there, such as the powerful guitar-led ending to “Sorrow Plagues”, “Time and Pressure” and parts of the slightly above average songs “Crusader” and “End of Days”, all in all Empire of Light is a disappointment. It is an album that doesn’t do justice to the great musical minds that Devil Sold His Soul have exemplified on previous efforts and the potential that they seemed to have been on the verge of completely filling. We may have to wait a little longer for that after all.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Wanna give it a 3 for it's good moments but it wouldn't fit the tone of the review. Hope someone does a counter review to this considering the rating.

Digging: YG - My Krazy Life

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



7237 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, I pretty much agree. This is disappointing.

Ire
September 20th 2012



41460 Comments


first album was cooo

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

2nd is their best

Shuyin
September 20th 2012



10442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn, i really liked this one.

review is alright have a pos and fuck you.

Digging: All the Empires of the World - Sunscraper

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

cheers fuck you too

gonna give this a personal rating of 3 fuck those that don't like it when people do that

edit: nvm

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


Good review, I agree with most. though I still like it somehow, just a massive disappointment.

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

album artwork of the year though

Shuyin
September 20th 2012



10442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it may be a disappointment because B&C was such an amazing album

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


*Ancients debut also has kick-ass album art..

(And the album was also disappointing... correlation?)

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


also Shuyin, I prefer a fragile hope over b&c, though its really close

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

My reviews are always not particularly positive anyway, lol. My overall average rating is 3.05 which is much lower than most of this site, and in my reviews I've given

2: 2 times
2.5: 3 times
3: 6 times
3.5: 3 times
4: 3 times

nothing higher

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


I don't like reviewing bad/dissapointing reviews, it's no fun. Good albums are way more fun

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


yeah me too, but b&c still rules too. this isn't bad either, but just no where near the other 2 albums

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good albums are way more fun

Yeah but usually I go into albums with the intention to review it anyway and it often disappoints.
Kinda got the negative-review technique honed though : p

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


that's what I mean, I just can't properly explain why I don't like some albums. Which makes it a shore to review 'em

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yeah I get frustrated at how infrequently I find albums I actually really like. I've only given out one 4 to an album released this year and I thought last year was bad after I only gave out one 4.5.. Although I've since given it to two others and found lots of stuff I missed before that I've really enjoyed. I get the feeling that might happen again for this year.

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


Last year was okay, I'm liking this year a lot more though. Listening to a lot of different stuff then usual, might have something to do with it

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
September 20th 2012



20230 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

the problem is that all of my favourite albums over the past couple of years have been things I never expected to like. I go into an album not expecting to like it and often I'm right, but sometimes it surprises me. But it means I'm often reluctant to have to listen to something for 50 minutes that I probably won't like, then listen again and another time to check again to see if I missed anything. Most of my favourite albums have had to grow on me.

Evreaia
September 20th 2012



3743 Comments


I know the feeling, first time I heard Calculating Infinity I was like.. WTF?? But now. Kinda need to get familiar with certain sounds before you can appreciate it



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