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The Devil's Blood - 'The Thousandfold Epicentre' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 15, 2012    
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A magnificent triumph of substance over style.

Once upon a time there was a Dutch band called Powervice, who split during the sessions for their first album. One guitarist went on to form a classic metal power trio called Vanderbuyst; the other – Selim Lemouchi – indulged the phantasmagorical side of his imagination and created the more ethereal The Devil’s Blood.

Like a myth or fairy tale The Devil’s Blood are steeped in mysticism and melodramatic hyperbole. According to their biog they use “the tradition of rock ‘n’ roll music as a mouthpiece for the influence of The Devil to evoke a powerful, sensual and energetic mixture of musical theatre and ritual practice” and in doing so turn their own faces from the light to the darkness. Smoke and mirrors disguise the band almost more effectively than Kiss ever managed – the album was performed by SL/TDB/A-O, F/TDB/MOS, R/TDB/PDA, J/TDB/LBS, and M/TDB/EED – and attempts to elicit more information about the band and their background were met with a polite “this line of questioning does not inspire me much to go ‘in depth’ as the questions really only graze the superficial” from Lemouchi. The point, I guess, is that conventional reality holds little sway for a band who proclaim “the path starts not in understanding but in confusion;” so don’t bother asking me what the album title means!

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However, that’s not to say the music plays second fiddle to the image. Despite the band’s evident unwillingness to reveal themselves, ‘The Thousandfold Epicentre’ is a magnificent triumph of substance over style. Demanding in part due to its diversity of influences the album blends almost everything from Sixties psychedelia to twenty-first century metal into a smorgasbord of aural delights where seemingly nothing is out of bounds as light and dark intertwine. A mixture of vocal styles, guitars that can be as heavy as they come or heart-achingly sublime, a twisted melange of melody and aggression… All this and more make ‘The Thousandfold Epicentre’ a joy to listen to and a riddle that’s almost impossible to solve. ‘She’, for example, plays out to a beautiful yet unexpected orchestral passage which links it acoustically to the album’s title cut, whereas ‘Cruel Lover’ features in part the same bounce and groove as ‘I Was Made For Loving You’. Like Ghost, like Year Of The Goat, The Devil’s Blood are a band where you might think you get it but you can never be too sure; it can be challenging to listen to, but like all challenges the prize is there for those who stay the course.

Again, according to the biog, “The Devil’s Blood is quite simply not of this world and holds no ties to it. We shall disappear as suddenly as we came when the time of the completion of our founding goals has been achieved.” Better catch them while you’ve got the chance.

John Tucker

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