Review Summary: In a period where some of the major occult rock bands are going uphill in terms of ambitiousness, Norway’s Devil prefer to stick to the basics of the genre, doing a great job in the process.
During a recent interview for the new Darkthrone album Underground Resistance
, drummer and infamous metal blogger Fenriz was asked to comment on his well-known habit of field tripping across the large forests surrounding Norway’s capital, Oslo. He said that although Norwegians are fully accustomed to the modern way of life, they are also deeply attached to nature and especially the forests that cover their land. Some of them even prefer to move to or to maintain their posts at the country side, despite the comforts a modern city like Oslo has to offer. Norwegian occult rockers Devil file under the first case. Long before forming the band, all of them were friends living in Oslo for quite some time before deciding to move back to their home cities in the countryside. At a later stage, they formed a retro doom/hard rock band, titled Devil, for casual jamming between a few beers and lots of fun. Rehearsal after rehearsal, the gathered material turned out to be good enough and a proper demo, titled Magister Mundi Xum
was released. The demo and the band’s increasing number of live concerts were warmly heralded in the underground and soon enough record deals were offered by independent labels. In the light of the above, the band was given enough thrust to complete a full length record, titled Time To Repent
, a great album of occult heavy rock.
As said previously, Devil were formed primarily for having a good time and the starter track of Time To Repent
captures the band in feasting and laughing presumably over a pile of pints, while a somber doom rock riff kicks in to set the mood for the rest of the album. In contrast to what is being implied by the previously mentioned riff, the album tends to rely more on the ‘70s monolithic hard/heavy rock side of Devil’s main influences and bands such as Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Witchfinder General. Baring a thick sound on both rhythm section and guitars, the songs go mid-tempo for the most part, with faster outbursts in between (“Blood Is Boiling”), whereas some of them are considerably more upbeat (“Open Casket”, “At The Blacksmith’s”). Regardless of the tempo, every song is based on 1-2 main riffs in order to grab the attention of the potential listener and although Devil are not 100% original in their overall output, they prove to be great in arranging riffs, rhythm section and vocals into tunes with solid groove. With respect to vocals, the powerful and rather unusual voice of Joakim is a strong plus for the band, despite some (few) mistakes in hitting the vocal melodies precisely. The stories narrated in the lyrics form a loose concept story around the trivial but so attractive occult rock themes. Witch women taking reign of their surrounding environment (“Crazy Woman”, “Blood Is Boiling”) with their curse spells (“Breaking The Curse”), before they are eventually cast into the fire for not denouncing their cult (“Time To Repent”) by the riders of the apocalypse (“At The Blacksmith’s”).
In a period where some of the major occult rock bands are going uphill in terms of ambitiousness in song writing, Norway’s Devil prefer to stick to the basics of the genre, doing a great job in the process. Furthermore, while some occult rock bands admittedly give more attention to their occult image rather than their actual music, Devil’s major concern seems to rest in writing good songs and not planning the future with great detail. If good music is yet to come, it will come and Devil are easily another addition to the list of bands worth anticipating for their next move, if and when it will take place.