"The Thousandfold Epicentre"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The Devil's Blood are 2011's version of Ghost...the band that suddenly gets shoved down everybody's throat thanks to them mysteriously appearing on the cover of every magazine and in every metal blog simultaneously. As in the case of Ghost, The Devil's Blood plays "occult rock", which hipsters have suddenly attached themselves to with intense ferocity. Seeing a band receive a hurricane of hype like this kind of predisposes me to be extra critical of them.

And the verdict in this case? Well, I guess I again have to compare The Devil's Blood to Ghost...pleasant to listen to, obviously talented, nowhere near as earth-shaking as they are made out to be. "The Thousandfold Epicentre" is a much more epic and much better produced follow-up to "The Time of No Time Evermore", which left little impression on me. To deny the rich sound and carefuly layering of the music here would be dishonest...guitarist/mastermind SL has plotted this record out like a great military campaign. The end result, though, is mixed...I like melodic, strong riffing rockers like "Cruel Lover" and "She", which are straight forward and memorable and which singer "F The Mouth" (surely one of the dopiest appellations to come down the pike in a long time) seems very well suited. Speaking of F, she is a talented vocalist but the scene is bursting with female singers of equal if not superior skill. Frankly, the best vocal siren in the small occult rock genre remains the pioneer Jinx Dawson of Coven...she has yet to be surpassed for rich tone and passion.

Elsewhere, The Devil's Blood delves into longer, more psychedelic passages designed to create a ritual aura. I understand the usage of tension and gradual build-up in longer songs, but there comes a point where the build-up is just boring and that point is easily surpassed on "Feverdance". Drugs or Enochian chants or maybe a good old dose of Dungeons & Dragons might help one in this case, but I lost interest. In reverse fashion, "Madness of Serpents" starts with a lot of energy and features some fantastically demented guitar effects, it ends with folkiness that drags into...nothing. Obviously something of great mystical significance has happened here, but I don't find it pleasing at all.

"The Thousandfold Epicentre" is surely not a bad release, but I can't figure out how The Devil's Blood suddenly winds up the toast of the season. Perhaps a few diabolical contracts were signed....