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Devils Whorehouse - "Blood & Ashes" (CD)

Devils Whorehouse - "Blood & Ashes" CD cover image

"Blood & Ashes" track listing:

1. Oceans Turn To Blood (2:58)
2. Wicked One (3:43)
3. Speak The Name Of The Dead (3:48)
4. The Cult Of Death (1:56)
5. Werewolf (4:34)
6. Demons Of The Flesh/Tight White Ropes (3:47)
7. Shadows Never Change (3:06)
8. Smell Of The Ancient Ones (3:12)
9. Face The Master (1:59)
10. Werewolf Nation (3:34)
11. Snakes Out The Mouth Of Hell (4:26)

Reviewed by on July 26, 2009

"'Blood & Ashes' succumbs to its own blatant Danzig worship; a black hole void of originality."

Over the years, side projects have proven to be a valuable outlet for musicians to explore unfamiliar territory or attempt to let loose some of the creative juices that were held back in their main bands. When he isn’t playing brutal black metal, Marduk guitarist Morgan Håkansson picks up the bass and cuts loose with Devils Whorehouse. Starting out as a Misfits cover band, original tracks of horror punk/rock began to materialize and with that came their 2003 debut “Revelation Unorthodox.” Håkansson went back to his full-time gig and Devils Whorehouse laid on the back burner, with little to no news coming out about the side project.

After six years, the band has returned with “Blood & Ashes.” Like their debut album, there is a heavy Misfits/Danzig influence; actually, it’s more of a straight copy-and-paste job. Vocalist Maelstrom is a dead-ringer for Glenn Danzig, the lyrics are focused on monsters and death, and the songs all sound like relics from the early-to-mid 1980s. In a situation like this, there has to be some creativity on the band’s part; little touches here and there to push themselves out of the shadows of their influences. Instead, “Blood & Ashes” comes off as a band trying their hardest to be on the level of their idols and coming off as a third-rate knockoff.

Nothing on “Blood & Ashes” will leave the listener yearning for second helpings. The eleven tracks come and go with little fanfare, and the horrid production doesn’t help matters. Hollow, lifeless, dull; whatever the adjective used, “Blood & Ashes” lacks power in its delivery. The instrument work is equally lackluster; simplistic and repetitive to a tee. Devils Whorehouse is comprised of musicians who know their instruments, but seem to restrain themselves in the name of sticking to the horror punk vibe. It gets the job done, but there isn’t a stand-out performance by any one member. Occasionally, a nifty guitar lead comes into play, but guitarist Makko is no John Christ and it shows in these moments.

There are a few bright spots to “Blood & Ashes” that saves it from being a disaster of “The Hottie And The Nottie” proportions. Opener “Oceans Turn To Blood” is a catchy start, with a bouncy feel that overshadows the dark lyrics of blood and destruction. The last third of the album is very strong, with “Smell Of The Ancients Ones” transforming into an moody acoustic piece, heavy on the aesthetics, leading into the blazing fast “Face The Master,” which is where the band finally injects some much-needed life into the proceedings. Closer “Snakes Out The Mouth Of Hell” is a slower affair, with clean guitars a prelude to the explosive chorus that provides a solid ending to what is largely a forgettable album.

“Blood & Ashes” succumbs to its own blatant Danzig worship; a black hole void of originality. There are a few songs that break the mold and show a potentially interesting side of Devils Whorehouse, but that is shoved aside by lame songs about werewolves (two of them to be exact) and a strange interlude that amounts to two minutes of pointless chanting. As a side project, it’s interesting to see somebody from a band as extreme as Marduk bravely step outside their comfort zone in a project that most fans turn a blind eye to, but “Blood & Ashes” is nothing more than a lost Danzig album that should have remained hidden in the shadows.

Highs: A few bright moments in the last third of the album

Lows: No originality, sounds like a poor man's Danzig, two songs about werewolves, just a dull listen from start to finish.

Bottom line: "Blood & Ashes" is too much like a Glenn Danzig side-project for its own good and mostly lacks any worthwhile moments.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)