The Devil's Blood - The Thousandfold Epicentre
The dutch group The Devil's Blood are one of those exceedingly rare projects that combine skill with an abundance of curiosity and depth of character, the type of outfit that defies catagorization regardless of their actual sound. For example, the sound of The Thousandfold Epicentre is very much rooted in 60's pychadelica and 70's hard rock, but the nature of the beast itself is much more modern. Or, perhaps, much more ancient, as the band's ethos is very much a dark, ritualistic and occultist place in which they conjure up the inspiration for their lyrical approach. It runs in direct conflict with the music most of the time, and their is a certain and unintended comedic aspect to it. While many potential listeners won't take on the band the same way, to read their press kit and then listen to the music is to witness a contradiciton in it's purest form. Almost as if the band felt it necessary to push forward their social and spiritual agenda because they had the platform to do so.
But this shouldn't reflect negatively on what is otherwise an excellent album. The bandmembers go by names such as "SL/TDB/A-O" which, frankly, I have no idea whatsoever how to interpret. There are only two lines listed for band members, but seeing as how each line is broken into segments, I cannot tell you who exactly makes up the band. But I do know that the band features a female lead singer who has an absolutely perfect voice for these nostalgic blends of classic rock. "Unending Singularity' is a precarious and ominous introduction, building and brooding at a creeping pace until "On The Wings of Gloria" rattles to sudden life with a jangling riff and pounding percussion. The twang and bend of the guitar/bass rhythm conjures up thoughts of classic surf rock, and when the vocals kick in it's like a trip through the history of rock. The track builds into a mess of effects and distortion before pacing itself for an excellent finish, a great introduction to what The Devil's Blood are all about. "Die The Death" is a much more straightforward punch of hard rock, with some vicious leads that segue into a more Skynrd-esque jam. "Within The Charnel House Of Love" is a big, bombastic piece, with some fantastic snare work during certain sections that give way to more placid bridge sections. Extremely catchy, a song that would fall right into place on classic rock radio rotations. "Cruel Lover" is pure Heart worship, with the rhythm section taking a cue from "Barracuda" while the song pushes forward admirably. Bands like Europe, Survivor, Journey, etc also come to mind here and elsewhere. Other outstanding tracks include "She" and the much darker, more fitting to their ethos likes of "The Madness of Serpents" and the slow-to-build but climatic finishing closer "Feverdance"
After a few spins you start to see the why and how of the interplay between the lyrical and spiritual underpinnings and some of the more trance-inducing, psychedelic moments of The Thousandfold Epicentre. However, you're still going to be well off not knowing all of what the band professes before giving them a listen. Not necessary to the overall impact, The Devil's Blood deliver a mostly enjoyable journey through some of rock's more historic moments over the course of 11 tracks, and break any potential monotiny with their prerogative for darker, somber and more drawn-out passages. It's hard to recommend this album to anyone in particular, but it's easy to say that everyone should give them a shot. There's a wide appeal factor, and each individual track may satisfy the tastes of many different people.
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