ALBUM REVIEW: Devil Sold His Soul – Loss
Turn the clocks back a decade and the English metalcore scene was amid an explosion that would see the world really start to pay attention. Within the space of eighteen months, Architects and Bring Me The Horizon would take over the scene with their most ambitious releases to date, with Hollow Crown and There Is a Hell… respectively. Although this was a tremendous achievement for British metal, several superb releases fell by the wayside and were lost in the wake. One of these albums was Devil Sold His Soul’s mind-bendingly forward-thinking sophomore effort, Blessed & Cursed. A release that was as crushingly heavy as it was beautiful, and as well executed as either of the previously mentioned albums. The follow-up, Empire Of Light, would be released two years later, but would fail to capture the same lightning in a bottle effect and the group would fall in to obscurity, with the frontman Ed Gibbs departing the band a year later (he would eventually return in 2017 to co-front Devil Sold His Soul with former The Arusha Accord vocalist Paul Green).
With Loss, the band’s first full-length release in over nine years, Devil Sold His Soul have lost none of their flair for the dramatic, nor their love of grandeur in their sound. From the opening atmospherics and heavily distorted guitars at the beginning of Ardour, the immediate impression is one of sonic exploration of devastating heaviness and infectious melody.
The twin vocal attack of Gibbs and Green may just be the ingredient that turns a good band in to a great one. The tremendous Witness Marks is a testament to this fact, with the two men trading off and harmonising over the top of the melodic instrumental. The transitions in the song are seamless, shifting effortlessly between a scathing breakdown section, through a clean section to a crescendo that is up there with one of the finest pieces of music that the band have ever written.
Burdened was one of the songs that Devil Sold His Soul unleashed as a single before the album’s release and it is clear to see why. The impressive drum work from Alex ‘Leks’ Wood in the introduction wouldn’t be out of place on a death metal album, before switching the place entirely as the song moves into more ambient territory. These changes are made without being too jarring and sacrificing, the flow speaks volumes about the quality if the songwriting.
One of the most impressive things about this release is that it does not seem to lose its vision at any point. For example, Signal Fire is immediate in its ferocity and proves that the band are more than capable of delivering blistering heaviness, whilst the lead guitar work and use of melody in the latter stages provide some of the most breathtakingly beautiful moments that the band have written.
The title-track that is used to close out the album is so haunting and wonderfully, beautifully written that it is impossible not to be moved. It’s no secret that Devil Sold His Soul have suffered tremendously on a personal level over the past few years and rather than let it destroy them they have channeled it into to creating their musical tour de force. The echoed guitars, along with the keys, create the perfect backdrop for the emotive vocals and gives everything a more epic feel, something that the band have got down to a tee at this point in their career.
This album is proof that Devil Sold His Soul have always stood on the cusp of greatness. The world may not have noticed it up until now and frankly, it has been their loss (no pun intended). With their fourth full-length release, the band have reached the potential that they have always promised and have grown into something truly special.
Standout Tracks: Burdened, Signal Fire, Loss
For Fans Of: Architects, The Elijah, Deftones
Written by: Richard Webb