Black Sabbath invented Heavy Metal. Everyone knows that. Of course, Metal immediately went off in all sorts of directions, and most Metal bands don’t sound like Black Sabbath. Those that do, are called Doom Metal. This genre is a minefield, with too many bands sounding like they threw their Black Sabbath tab sheets in the air and however it fell, that was the songs.
Devil Electric are a female-fronted, 70s-influenced heavy rock band. Comparisons to Blues Pills are obvious, and in fact they are cited as an influence. Where this is most true is in the deep quality of both acts. These are not cheap knock offs, these bands are influenced by past sounds but they create something new with them. There is no question this band is influenced by Black Sabbath. But, what they are doing has its own personality, and sounds fresh and new.
First track, ‘Monologue,’ starts slow before a pounding tom drum brings in a driving riff. The guitars on this album are always fuzzy, not shaped, not a scooped Metal sound, but vintage heaviness. The vocals are immediately great, full of conviction and emotion. The song changes tempo often, but it’s never distracting, every note is perfect. This song goes for over five minutes, but not one second or note is wasted. It’s a great opening track.
‘Shadowman’ comes next and it’s another fuzzy riff fest. Pierina O’Brien is consistently great, and her voice is definitely an integral part of why this music is so good.
‘Lady Velvet’ has an almost 60s feel to it. There’s still a lot of riffs but the whole thing feels just a little more retro.
Another longer track, ‘Acidic Fire’ starts with a slower riff and builds from there. The song takes three minutes to change to a faster riff, but it does a lot of building in that time just through light and shade in the arrangement. That just makes it all the more of a relief when it speeds up and quickly moves to a lead break.
‘Monolith’ starts off heavy, with lots of drums and bass. It’s a short instrumental that segues into a moodier track, called ‘Hellhole.’ There’s lots of quiet sections in this one. It’s very atmospheric and once again is carried by the power of Pierina O’Brien’s performance. This track is a real highlight on the album. The last 30 seconds of the song are a master class in restraint, with a driving drum keeping the song going as everything else fades out.
The riff for ‘The Sacred Machine’ is definitely reminiscent of Sabbath. It repeats and changes for a minute before the vocals kick in. From here, the song goes from strength to strength, including one of the more forceful lead breaks on the album.
In contrast, ‘Lilith’ starts with clean guitars and not much else. Eventually other instruments come in, but this instrumental track is definitely the quietest song on the album.
Last track, ‘Hypnotica,’ lives up to its name, starting heavy before dropping back to a hypnotic combination of vocals and bass with sparse drums and the odd guitar effect. The song builds to a climax before fading out with just bass and drums.
From start to finish, Devil Electric oozes class and style. This band is very much rooted in the sounds of the past, but their take on it is new and fresh and should appeal to any fan of heavy music whose appreciation goes back before this century. The fact it’s a Melbourne band is just a bonus, this is a band well worth checking out live, after you’ve got to know the songs from repeat listens.
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