Devil Electric - Devil Electric - (9/10)
Published on September 9, 2017
Infectious, Hypnotic, Mysterious Fun
Devil Electric are a new Australian band that toe the line between hard rock, heavy metal and doom. There are a handful of bands out there that toe this line and they all do it differently but they all do it incredibly well. So what makes Devil Electric stand out among their peers? For one thing, this band is decidedly heavier and rhythm-centric than most of their peers. They are a heavy/doom metal band that happens to have some hard rock influence in their sound. Most bands focus on the hard rock and stoner aspects of this sound and forgo the doom metal riffs. Not Devil Electric though. Their debut, simply titled Devil Electric, is not an album you want to sleep on for a minute. This is an album you want to get your hands on immediately.
Devil Electric have produced a really infectious album here that will certainly launch their career with a bang. Where most bands go straight for the stoner head nod, these four musicians take the road less travelled. The songs on this album feature plenty of fantastic, heavy, doomy riffs, but its crowning glory is the almost constant change of pace. These songs do not rest on any laurels for even a second with an awesome penchant for staccato rhythms that infuse a ton of life energy into an occasionally complacent style. Christos’ riffs themselves are pretty heavy and he strikes an excellent balance between stoner fuzz and gritty doom, which is not an easy task. His melodies are high quality, extremely catchy and memorable, and most importantly, they are supremely interesting. Both his riffs and melodies are insanely infectious and often very hypnotic, sometimes with an air of mystery akin to Pagan Altar. Take a listen to the album’s closing track, “Hypnotica,” and marvel as Christos works his hypnotic magic and displays the full breadth of his talent.
Mark van de Beek’s drumming is incredibly diverse and a large part of the band’s almost constant changes of pace. The alternating beats in the opening track sound like something out of punk but slowed way down. Mark also comes up with a ton of great fills and driving back beats, many of which are genuinely interesting in addition to being really infectious and hypnotic. Even when he lays down just a simple, driving beat, it is hard hitting and accented nicely by great cymbals. His more interesting fills often go back and forth between driving back beats and the alternating, slowed-down punk beats of the opening track. “The Dove and the Serpent” is perhaps his most creative performance, showcasing the full range of his abilities. This track features a bunch of hard hitting fills, some fantastic doom drumming, a slow section with what sounds like a tone block, and it all culminates with him hitting each drum in turn and playing a round before the fade out. This album honestly contains the most creative doom drumming out there right now outside of Des Kensel’s work with High on Fire.
Bass is always important in doom to beef up the riffs but it usually does not amount to much more. This is definitely not the case with Tom Hulse though. His bass lines and rhythms are an integral part of the band’s unique sound. You cannot always make out the exact line because of the distortion and fuzzy tones but they are always there, consistently changing the pace of the song. Listen to the middle of “Lady Velvet” and you will hear just a few of the cool things Tom does on this album. At the end of the day though, this album makes its mark with Pierina O’Brien’s stellar voice complementing all the excellent instrumentation. Her voice packs plenty of power and just enough grit to keep the doomy vibe going. She does have a softer side that shows up once in a while when the song demands it but most of the time, she sits in the healthy, powerful mid-range. Although her voice is not entirely unique, it complements Devil Electric’s sound extremely well and she seems like she would be an awesome frontwoman for live shows.
Devil Electric have established a unique sound with this debut album and one that doom fans would be wise to catch on to and embrace. This is a very creative album that presents a plethora of really neat ideas, making for an awesome listening experience. Hopefully, Devil Electric will continue on this path and have a long career with many more creative and slightly mysterious albums.