"some music was meant to stay underground..."

The Devil - "The Devil" (CD)

The Devil - "The Devil" CD cover image

"The Devil" track listing:

1. Divinorum (2:17)
2. Universe (4:34)
3. Astral Dreamscape (3:01)
4. World Of Sorrow (3:27)
5. Devil & Mankind (5:40)
6. The Silent City (4:35)
7. Akashic Enlightenment (5:08)
8. Extinction Level Event (4:40)
9. Intervention (3:58)
10. Illuminati (3:14)
11. Transcendence (2:23)
12. Alternative Dimensions (6:41)
13. Ascension (28:36)

Reviewed by on November 27, 2012

"Though the band is shrouded in secrecy, their music is not equally as intriguing."

Is it just an odd coincidence, or has the number of bands with anonymous members seen a rise in recent memory? Ghost is on the verge of mainstream success, and Nine Covens is black metal royalty without names, at least according to press releases. The mystique of this circumstance is one that has an appeal separate from the music or message. The Devil, generic band name aside, has not yet revealed their identities to anyone. Their music identity, however, is just as abstract as their faces are on their self-titled debut.

The band plays instrumental music, but not in the way that many would associate an instrumental group to sound like. There are samples of speeches and news reports used on almost every song, acting as the vocals that give each song a distinct vision. The September 11, 2001 World Trade Center tragedy is the focus of “World Of Sorrow,” and Martin Luther King Jr’s trademark “I Have a Dream” speech makes up the bulk of “Intervention.” The samples tend to be louder than the music, which makes them the center of attraction whenever employed.

Based around symphonic ideals and a goth vibe that has a Type O Negative feel, The Devil is not a virtuoso’s delight. The complexity of the music is limited, negating anything jaw-dropping for moody segues. The keyboards are more of a primary tool than any other instrument. Save for harmonic guitar work on “Extinction Level Event” and chunky riffs on the heavy “Alternative Dimensions,” the guitars are unspectacular. That also goes for the rhythm section, which keeps tempo, and that’s about the largest contributions they make.

It is the lush keys that are the main reason to give this album a try. The symphonic side of the band is almost climatic in nature, with songs like “Divinorum” and “Transcendence” acting as a broad-stroked ode to early ‘80s horror films. The synth lines can be a little too much, dragging along the same notes for minutes on end. Droning music like that can be enjoyably hypnotizing when done right, but The Devil just doesn’t engage the audience the way they should. With 13 songs going over an hour, the band doesn’t have the right style to be worth devoting that much time to.

The Devil’s music is better suited for a movie soundtrack than it is for a studio album. Like most movie soundtracks, there are some interesting ideas at play, but only those with a passion for the medium will be entranced by it. This isn’t a standard metal album, and it’s nowhere near what many would think an instrumental record should appear to be. That gives “The Devil” an originality that can be valuable, but too much is based on plodding synth-led songs like “Ascension” and “Akashic Enlightenment.” Though the band is shrouded in secrecy, their music is not equally as intriguing.

Highs: Great use of keyboards, samples put a twist on the instrumental music, mystique surrounding the band comes off in the music

Lows: Way too long even without the 30-minute closer, instrumentally boring, a few songs drag with no real payoff

Bottom line: This dark instrumental album is better suited for a movie soundtrack than a studio album, though it has its moments.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)