Smidley
Here Comes The Devil


5.0
classic

Review

by Sowing STAFF
November 13th, 2022 | 148 replies


Release Date: 11/11/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bring him on.

Conor Murphy fronts one of the most popular active emo-rock bands in Foxing, but Here Comes The Devil is actually the first time I've had a visceral reaction to his music. I wouldn't describe it as evoking introspective emotions like sadness so much as stoking genuine anxiety and fear. There's a sense of existential dread that slowly creeps up on you here, and it's inescapable. 'Another Devil', just the second song on the LP, begins with the following line about life: "How does it feel now it’s gone? You wasted away every second of it / Here comes the devil, and all is lost" and ends with the creepy-as-all-fuck Latin outro of "sanguinem bibimus, Corpus edimus / tolle corpus Satanae / avē, avē Antichriste / Avē Satana!" – which translates to "we drink the blood, we eat the body / raise the body of Satan / Hail, hail Antichrist! / Hail Satan!" It's fair to say that this isn't Murphy's rosiest moment, and although Satan himself probably isn't crawling out of Hell's basement on a ladder that leads right into the man's living room, there's definitely malevolent forces at play here – even if they're figments of Conor's mind. However, as anyone who's suffered from depression can tell you, our inner demons tend to be the realest ones of all.

Despair emanates from every crack, crevice, and corner of this thing lyrically, but it's relatively calm on the surface. 'Farewell' slinks along to a groovy piano line, ''Do You Still Love Me' possesses a beautifully somber melodic glow, and the soulful baritone and lively saxophone of 'I'm Breaking My Own Heart' make it even more of an earworm than Murphy likely intended. Within those same three songs, however, we're given lines like "There’s nothing left to say / What’s left for us but farewell?", "I’m sliding leagues below, into the warm embrace of the unknown", "Will you carry me with you like a hot cross on a sinner’s chest / Am I worthy of your love, long after I’m dead?", and "I’ve got nothing else to do than self-destruct in front of you." The majority of these tracks might be classified as emo-pop, eschewing the sort of heaviness that typically accompanies such bleak thoughts. Even as we cross over into the record's midsection, the music feels purposely subdued against the backdrop of what is clearly a narrator in crisis. 'Heaven Knows I'm In Hell' is a love song in its own grim way, floating by on some acoustic notes and reverb as Murphy croons, "May love lead us to one death / Let it be treacherous, let it be true / And may Death lead me to you." 'Table Rock Antichrist''s pattering drums, noodling guitars, and gorgeous ambient finish all seem eerily understated versus the terrifying urgency of the lyrics: "The Shepherd of the Hills is calling us home / Nobody likes to be made to wait very long / The Table Rock Antichrist calling us home / Nobody likes to be made to wait." The conflicting music/message throughout the majority of Here Comes The Devil creates a very unsettled dynamic, as if it's too profoundly depressing and/or evil to be casually bopping along to – yet, as the instruments and hooks dictate the flow, you still will.

Across the back portion of this record, Conor absolutely erupts. His trademark shrieks make a return on 'In Poor Taste' – overtaking the soothing acoustic guitars and subtle horns – and it feels like the tangible musical culmination of everything that Here Comes The Devil previously hinted at lyrically. Murphy once again sings of death, but this time it is less mythical/metaphorical and feels absolutely personal: "You always said you were gonna be bald / Got it from your mom's side, you swore to god / I can’t help feeling cheated by the thought that I’ll never find out if you were right or not"..."Strange that makes me feel better never reaching out, or skipping the wake / In my defense it was on my birthday / Well here I go makin’ it all about me...I can’t let you have anything." Then there's 'Canto of Queens', which is notably abstract by comparison with its splattering of aimless percussion and Murphy's incantation of "bathe his brother’s blade in blood." Eventually, the whole thing resplendently implodes and smoothes out across a minute and a half of chilling ambience. By the record's conclusion, 'Holy Immolation' and 'Here Comes The Devil' ramp up the electric guitars to deliver a one-two punch brimming with by far Smidley's most imposing riffs. 'Holy Immolation' sees Conor plead with God himself to be the one to end his life – "I’m holding for apocalyptic trumpets, but it’s crickets all the time / Maybe it’s a punchline / I want you to be the death of me, I’ve never been so sure of anything" – and the way the guitars lose focus and everything sort of just unravels into chaos feels like an intentional artistic decision to mirror his mental state. Once the title track rolls in, replete with its sinister strut and riff explosions, Conor has us in the palm of his hand. It's a crescendo – this fucking spine-tingling apex – that sees him shouting and shrieking almost unintelligibly about the devil's arrival while the electric guitars wail on in the background. But it's all done with a wink and a nod after the opening verses clarify "I would free fall with a smile on my face through the gates of hell / If I knew you were waiting", allowing all subsequent lines to feel like a taunt, as if he's egging Satan on. In the absence of any meaning offered by God (see 'Holy Immolation''s unanswered spiritual pleas), it seems that he's willing – eager, even – to inflict unimaginable punishment upon his soul in order to make his own truth, or perhaps just to finally experience love. Maybe they're not even separate concepts. Armed with that peace of mind and ready to go to or through hell to find it, the phrase "here comes the devil" is turned on its head. Bring him on.



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user ratings (57)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gyromania
November 13th 2022


35664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've only heard the first 3 songs but they for sure didn't signal this was anywhere close to a 5/5. Gotta listen to the whole thing when I get some free time

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2022


4444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

Damn, an absolute classic Sowing hype review!



Gave this a cursory listen yesterday but never even realized this was the guy from Foxing. Will come back to it.

WatchItExplode
November 13th 2022


9975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

A few hours earlier than expected but here it is folks...



This creeped from a three to a 4.5 over two solid listens. We will see what happens after another.

Wildcardbitchesss
November 13th 2022


7663 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This man can do no wrong

Cormano
November 13th 2022


3755 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh shit oh shit i was about to spin it when i saw this, nice job

lets fuckin go

Gyromania
November 13th 2022


35664 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Put work on hold to listen to this and it's surprising me. Farewell stuck out much more. Table Rock antichrist and In Poor Taste is a great combo

GreyShadow
November 13th 2022


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this was cool! i don't think i liked it at all lmao.

but you do whatever you want Conor, i love you

GreyShadow
November 13th 2022


6298 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Farewell and Heaven Knows I'm In Hell were very nice, no complaints there and the last half of the closer is him just doing what he does best so yeah, that's a good one too.



the rest of this was mostly just intriguing but that's really it?? he sounds amazing, especially in the screaming department but idk, it doesn't grab me.

Slex
November 13th 2022


15233 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yall are hyping this so hard sghdkdld I am so excited to listen

anat
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2022


5011 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the back half is where this really comes into its own, but a couple of spins and you see how important the first half is in setting up the themes and offering up the feeling of tension and impending chaos that the phrase “here comes the devil” should hold

it’s just a joy to listen to honestly

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2022


47037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how ur summary not gonna be 'if there was hell let me sink into it' smh



great writeup tho, great album

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2022


4006 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was waiting for that BNM, hell yes. Excited to read this review.

Sowing
Moderator
November 13th 2022


42638 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

---the back half is where this really comes into its own, but a couple of spins and you see how important the first half is in setting up the themes and offering up the feeling of tension and impending chaos that the phrase “here comes the devil” should hold---

I completely agree and it works on different levels. The subdued first half is essential to setting up the chaos of the second (hence "here comes the devil"), but it's even more crucial because the lyrics paint a pretty bleak picture of someone fixated on death -- be it his own, or of surrounding loved oned. When Conor sings "I would free fall with a smile on my face through the gates of hell / If I knew you were waiting" is the real crystallizing moment for the entire narrative because it flips on its head the meaning of "here comes the devil" into something almost gleeful. There are several ways to dissect this, but the idea that in reuniting with this person/idea he's making his own truth -- to fill the space of a God who abandoned him -- is my favorite

Bobshat
November 13th 2022


74 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

generally nice album but not very impressed by the vocals sadly

Sowing
Moderator
November 13th 2022


42638 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The vocals may be an acquired taste, especially if you haven't dove heavily into Foxing already, but it's cool that you checked this. This started as a light 3.5 for me but got better and better every time I listened. Once I read along with the lyrics on bandcamp, it solidified this as one of the best albums I've heard this year. I don't know if it will grow like that for everyone, but it might be worth a subsequent spin or two!

Bobshat
November 13th 2022


74 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really like the contrast of heavy instrumentation and soft vocals on the last two tracks, very shoegazy. For sure my favourite tracks on the album.

dunno if its a grower for me but we'll see ;)



Sowing
Moderator
November 13th 2022


42638 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The last two are definitely my favorites too...I think....it's hard to tell because In Poor Taste is on the same level of intensity and I also really dig the dark emo-pop present in the first half of the album. Farewell is stunning and I'm Breaking My Own Heart is so catchy.

anat
Contributing Reviewer
November 13th 2022


5011 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

In Poor Taste is starting to run away as my favourite track, the screams remind me of Albatross and the strings are glorious

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2022


47037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the drums speeding up right at the end of Poor Taste fucking hits

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 13th 2022


47037 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do You Love Me feels a bit underrated, quietly one of the most heartbreaking tracks here + groovy as hell



still not sure how I feel about the last 3. Canto is a bit of a mess, Immolation is fun but the vocal production is a bit off on it



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