The classic rock revival, for the most part, has left me cold. Bands like The Answer and Stone Gods indulging in big riffs and big balls show such a lack of imagination. Dutch classic rockers The Devil’s Blood have snuck into the metal arena on the back of Doom Metal’s recent surge in popularity. Their occult leanings and intermittent Sabbath referencing appears to have endeared them to the Doom community perhaps on the lookout for some light relief, particularly with their feelgood hit of the late summer I’ll Be Your Ghost. But what a welcome interloper this is!
Delivering classic rock in the vain of Blue Oyster Cult and Coven with Sabbath and Thin Lizzy flourishes, The Devil’s Blood are retro, but have their own distinctive identity. The singer’s quivering vibrato may polarise listeners as it can get pretty grating, but is largely smoothed out by the silky multi-part vocal harmonies of which this album is awash. Their sound is darkly atmospheric and truly epic. Huge riffs and harmonised dual guitars cut through the dreamy sheen giving this album some real punch and there are some razor sharp and perfectly timed guitar solos displaying prodigious fret board agility without being too showy.
Final track The Ant-Kosmik Magick is surely one of the standout tracks of any band this year. This sublime psychedelic rocker concludes the album with the best Floydesque guitar duel since Opeth’s Burden or Coheed and Cambria’s The Final Cut (indeed this is one of many parallels with C&C’s retro prog).
This album is perfectly executed and immaculately timed. There there’s no fat here at all – every track is a stormer. Despite the dark lyrical themes of witchery and black magick, this album is ultimately uplifting. Backward leaning without every being a parody, showing contemporary flourishes and some exemplary pop songwriting smarts.
German label Ván appear to have hit paydirt having also signed superb Swedish doomsters Griftegård. This will be in my albums of the year. Go buy it, because these guys deserve to be very popular indeed.