February 6, 2015 Devilment – The Great and Secret Show (Album Review)
Originally founded in 2011 by guitarist Daniel J Finch, UK band Devilment initially had a difficult time finding a reliable vocalist. That is until Finch’s friend, Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth), signed on, stating, “When I heard what Dan Finch was doing, I just had to get my claws into it. It had a unique sound to it that was both creepy and heavy, but indelibly groovy. I instantly saw where we could take this beast…” Now, after inking a deal with Nuclear Blast, the band’s lineup took shape as new members came on board: Nick Johnson on bass, Colin Parks on guitars, Aaron Boast on drums, Lauren Francis on keyboards/vocals, the aforementioned Finch on guitars, and the dark lord himself, Mr. Dani Filth on vocals. With all the members living locally in Ipswich, Suffolk, UK, rehearsing and recording has been an easy task. Filth added, “It’s vastly different than Cradle of Filth. It’s a totally different entity in that it’s completely original… Each of the band members has their own unique perspective on metal and music in general.”
With major musical influences coming from Slayer, Iron Maiden, Destruction, Judas Priest, The Misfits, Paradise Lost, and Emperor Genichi Kawakami, it is easy to see the direction Devilment’s debut album, The Great and Secret Show, was going to take. Filth is a lyrical genius in his own right. During his time with Cradle of Filth, he included H.P. Lovecraft and Roald Dahl, Tim Burton films, and Eastern Mysticism as influences, and all of them make an appearance during The Great and Secret Show. Recorded at Grindstone Studios in Suffolk, UK, with producer Scott Atkins (Behemoth, Cradle of Filth, Amon Amarth, Sylosis), The Great And Secret Show was fittingly released on Halloween of 2014.
“Summer Arteries” opens the album with a Progressive guitar intro that leads the song into a fast tempo, chugging along with a catchy chorus, double kick bass and drum rolls that get the heart thumping and head banging right from the start. Filth’s guttural vocals start the next song and first single, “Mother Kali,” a riff-driven track, sounding dark, dreary and ominous. This offering has an Oriental vibe, tribal beats and a wonderfully psychotic sounding violin that offers four minutes of sonic perversion. “The Girl From Mystery Island” was the single from the demo EP and has all of the madness and mayhem one would expect from the best Cradle of Filth songs. The next single, “Even Your Blood Group Rejects Me,” is a dark, theatrical song with a gothic symphonic influence, beginning with Thrash Metal riffing, a crushing heavy beat and an intense groove, with a disturbing heaviness that carries throughout the song.
“The Stake In My Heart” has a bombastic, groove laden riff with a dark, heavy rhythm. Husky vocals interspersed with shrieks and growls over a rapid guitar solo drive this track along and into “Living With The Fungus,” an infectious, thumping celebration of crunching guitars, bellows and howls, all under a powerful rhythm section. “Sanity Hits a (Perfect) Zero” is a thrashing orgy of punchy, catchy riffs and pounding drums as Filth’s trademark vocals rocket this track along, leading into a sweet piano midsection and ending with a melodic guitar solo. “Laudenum Skull,” a duet with Lauren Francis, is a stand out track – Francis’ sweetness is perfectly balanced with Filth’s thunder, all with the added beauty of Gothic synth.Title track “The Great And Secret Show” opens with a clean guitar and a simple keyboard melody, leading into tumbling drums, a mayhem of screaming vocals and some crunching guitars that ends with the plinking of the keyboard. Bonus tracks include a cover of Midnight Oil’s “Beds Are Burning” as a duet with Bam Margera, star of MTV’s Jackass and lead vocalist for Fuckface Unstoppable. The second bonus track, “Psycho Babble,” is a keyboard driven tale with low, whispered vocals and hypnotic guitar riffs, underpinned by a driving, heavy drumbeat that carries the listener into the abyss of Devilments’ darkness. The last bonus is a full symphonic instrumental version of “Even your Blood Group Rejects Me.”
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Dani Filth is a king of the Extreme Metal genre. He has proven his longevity with over two decades of work, and Devilment is yet another arrow in his quiver. For fans of Cradle Of Filth, they will find this album leaning more towards commercial sounds. Detractors will hear that he is a more than capable artist and not just a one trick pony. Devilment performs their songs in a lower key and with the more contemporary structure of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-midsection-chorus. Filth’s vocals are more throaty with less of his high-pitched shrieking. This is a dramatic, suspenseful album full of gruesome, erotic, gothic atmosphere, overloaded with catchy Thrash Metal elements and mixed with mainstream Hard Rock components and Industrial Rock segments reminiscent of Rob Zombie, Rammstein and early Deathstars. CrypticRock gives The Great and Secret Show 5 out of 5 stars.