"In The Devil’s Days"

By Lord Randall

New Zealand quartet THE HOUSE OF CAPRICORN rip the lid off in their sophomore full-length's opener, 'All Hail To The Netherworld', exposing what can only be described as the bastard children of TYPE O NEGATIVE and SAMHAIN being let loose to wreak havoc upon thine eardrums. You’ll hear the TON reference repeated through "In The Devil’s Days", but it’s not always a bad thing, THOC steering wide of the admittedly “schlock and awww” keyboard tactics of Peter Steele’s green men, preferring to bang it out in standard four-piece format, giving a more decidedly metal air to the sound. ‘Les Innocents’ drags the tempo down to doomhauled steamroller for a gloriously unlistenable 10+ minutes of grief, while ‘Coffins And Cloven Hooves’ thrusts us face-first into the dark humor that THOC are capable of... raucous, rebellious and full of graveyard grins. I wouldn’t say either comes close to approximating the unintended (?)  classicism of ‘We Hate Everyone’ or ‘Unsuccessfully Coping…’, but I really don’t think that’s THOC’s endgame in the first place.

Vocalist Marko Pavlovic does have that Evil Elvis/Peter Steele thing going on, but manages to move far enough away from parroting the aforementioned to convince the listener that it’s just his damned range, pure and simple. The abbreviated instrumental of ‘Canto IV’ leads us into ‘Veils’ and the one-two punch hyper-occult imagery of ‘To Carry The Lantern’ and ‘Illuminations In Omega’. The 14-minute ‘Horns’ drags here and there, something you really don’t want to do in a song geared towards developing an enveloping atmosphere. I understand the concept of ending an album like this with a  rockin’ “come back and visit next time” vibe, which the title track surely has, yet I can’t help but thinking were the bookending tunes switched, it might’ve made for a better finale.

At well over an hour in length, In The Devil’s Days is an album that visits virtually 
every cliché in the horror rock/metal pantheon, yet never stays long enough to stagnate,and actually pulls some fairly dark tricks out of its black-robed sleeve from time to time. Not a bad ride at all, just can’t see myself selling my soul to this particular devil…yet.