Friday, April 12, 2013

Devil - Gather The Sinners

Revivalism is a plague upon extreme music. Pop-structured "classic" heavy metal with fuzzed-out doom riffs is the current lovechild of labelheads everywhere thanks to Ghost (now Ghost B.C.). I find this movement to be largely redundant and pointless. Nonetheless it exists and therefore someone out there must be discovering this kind of music for the first time. Maybe they just haven't gotten bored yet. It's baffling either way since this kind of music has limited depth.

Devil is a Norwegian band playing Sabbathian-style doom rock not too distant from the more poppy Ghost B.C., but without all the synthesizer bullshit. These guys like to keep things down-to-earth. Thus their music is heavier and fuzzier, and it tends to stick to metal's roots which is by all means fine as far as crafting a simple doom or heavy metal album goes. Honestly the lack of synthesizer was the only thing I needed to be assured of to give Gather The Sinners a chance. After all not all revival acts are bad right?

The structuring of the tracks on Gather The Sinners ranges from doom to pop, with some tracks ("Darkest Days," "Southern Sun") being spurred on by hooks and choruses. They do work and are largely appealing in the same way that they were thirty of forty years ago. It's nothing new, but where Devil do succeed is in keeping that thirty or forty year old feel alive. Gritty vocals mixed with the aforementioned fuzzy guitars merge to create a portal to a bygone era.

Primitive in it's composition and execution, Gather The Sinners is interesting for that reason alone. The album is nothing new or particularly interesting, but it's filled with memorable slow-to-mid-paced riffs that are headbangable. "They Pale" opens with a solo yet maintains the chorale groove with a cowbell, "Ladies Of Night" has a bouncy bassline that carries a similar groove, and the more vocally driven "Darkest Day" is led on by the high-hat. All of the tracks on Gather The Sinners are about maintaining a groove, and Joakim Trangsrud's vocals serve to embellish that groove with some melody. His hoarse voice is pretty archetypal, but it fits. The supporting vocals and interplay are both nice touches as well.

While nothing original, Gather The Sinners is at least notable for not sounding like outright synth pop-rock. The result is quick gratification: the occasional choral hook will get stuck in your head, but listening to the album has diminishing returns as hooks tend to tire fast.

6.25 out of 10 

1. Coffin Regatta
2. Beyond The Gate
3. They Pale
4. Legacy
5. Restless Wanderer
6. Untitled
7. Ladies Of the Night
8. Darkest Day
9. Mother Shipton Pt. I
10. Mother Shipton Pt. II
11. Demons On Wheels
12. Southern Sun

Listen // Buy

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