Review by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
DEVIL ELECTRIC – Godless
Released – 12/11/21
Melbourne fuzz-rock band Devil Electric have just released their highly anticipated new album, Godless. The record is a collection of ideas and experiences that can simply be described as “the next evolution” of their sound. While keeping true to the band’s DNA, you’ll still find the heavy grooves and tones of 70’s inspired hard rock as Godless takes it one step further by peeling back to a rather more LoFi sound, a credit to producer Julian Schweitzer who worked with the band on the album.
There’s a high level of stylistic experimentation on Godless that emerged in the freedom of the studio, and while I am no expert on the current crop of ‘desert doom sludge’ rock bands, I did grow up on Black Sabbath in their prime, and dabbled with bands like Earth and Witchfinder General back in the early 1980s, and have enjoyed the fuzz-driven power of Kadavar, Graveyard and Blues Pills in their trips Down Under. You you can hear all of the above in the intense and powerful down-tuned riffery of Christos Athanasias that shares the limelight with the slightly menacing purity of Pierina O’Brien’s excellent voice.
Forgetting about any obvious influences, Devil Electric deliver an outstanding set of very heavy, but pretty melodic rock, with the bass and drums combo of Tom Hulse and Mark Van De Beek utterly solid throughout, and an excellent production from Julian Schweitzer.
I Am is the perfect opening track to the record, and has the dark and edgy guitar sound that is maximised by the immense bass sound underpinning the chunky riffs, while Pierina delivers a simply stunning performance – imagine a darkened stage, shrouded in dry ice and some blue lights, her arms outstretched as she calls the faithless to worship, before the crushing power of the band takes over in the mid-section for an extended workout, with the vocals coming back in with some epic ad-libs, and a whole heap of tasty drum fills and accents before the slight afterthought of the bass-line outro. Phew – 6 and a half minutes of real quality!
The band released All My Friends Move Like The Night as a taster back in 2020, and this is a great counterpoint to I Am, with the catchy hooks of the chorus, and the dirty grungy riffs supported by the ever-present monolithic bass and drums, and features some howling lead guitar as something close to a solo. Mindset maybe the closest thing to a mainstream heavy rock track, with a straight-ahead 4/4 riff in the verse, with the vocals spat out with some vitriol, and the chorus is raw rather than catchy. The middle-eight starts off atmospheric, before delivering utter power and crushing riffs before the closing chorus sees Pierina smash the vocals out again.
Tom shows off his vocal skills as great balance to Pierina in Your Guess Is As Good As Mine, which has an off-beat set of tempos, all powered along by some crisp and very tight drum patterns from Mark – understated yet completely critical to the track. The track has numerous separate elements, like I Am at the start, but they fit together into a whole which is greater than the sum of the parts. Christos really channels Iommi in a couple of the sections but is never completely derivative. The final 55 seconds of the track is just epic, and could go for several more minutes in my book!
The band is not afraid to experiment anywhere, and the 2m 7 sec ripper of Take The Edge Off has a superbly catchy riff, and forms a pretty ideal intro to the title track Godless which has it all, and maintains the feel of the prior track. A cracking droning riff that is driven along by the bass and drums under the verse, and a down-tempo segment that adds to the power before a killer solo. There is some real density in the guitars and bass here!
I Will Be Forgotten kicks off in a drum-driven frenzy before settling down into a killer Iommi-style riff from the Vol 4 vaults, which then gets much more involved with the interplay between the lead guitar line and Pierina’s vocals. There is a darkly incandescent power to the closing couple of minutes, which sees a real chunk of stripped-back doom take us back to the 1970s.
Home grown epic heavy rock, with a quality female vocalist providing some top-notch purity in the voice, which soars above and slices through the heavy fuzz-tones of the guitar and bass, while the drums throb and pulse in the shadows – bring on the return of live music to Cherry Bar and the Northcote Social Club and let’s lose ourselves in the raw, visceral energy of Devil Electric!
The opening to the final track is almost a blues torch-song, with clean sultry vocals over mellow guitars, bass and drums with a classic blues chord progression before it ramps up to a solid riff, and some dual vocal harmonies from Pierina and then a glorious cacophony of voice and guitars that rips into the solo, before another set of crushing riffs sends us out on a real high.
Godless can be pre ordered here : https://devilelectric.bandcamp.com/
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