Devil Sold His Soul – Empire of Light

(Small Town Records)

I’ve never been particularly sold on Devil Sold His Soul, one of the bands to emerge from the ashes of the promising Mahumodo. There’s a lot to like about their brand of post-metal, particularly their penchant for groove laden apocalypse inducing riffs and low end grumble. But at the same time, there’s their tendency to push ‘sprawling epic’ into ‘whingy emo’ territory, something that always jarred a little, the clean vocals straying far too close to Lostprophets-esque haircut metal. It’s like eating a delicious pizza but halfway through a mouthful a tramp sidles up to you smelling of urine and faeces and then that’s all you can taste in your mouth. Even after you’ve given him all your 50p’s and he’s gone back to his bottle of Buckfast your nostrils need a deep clean and that mushroom slice now tastes like a rancid strip of mould.

But they’re a British metal band who don’t make me want to vomit into my own mouth like the likes of Bullet et al, so I’m always willing to give them a chance, even if that chance involves me handling it with tongs and rubber gloves just in case they’ve gone full tilt emo.

So, safety measures in place and into opener ‘No Remorse, No Regrets’, which sounds, well, exactly as you’d expect. There’s a rollicking big riff for a bit, and then it goes all epic and whatnot and then it goes quiet. I close my eyes and wait for the fringey bit, but nope, we’re back into the riff. Hang on, this ain’t half bad. I’m going to take off the gloves.

Too early! Put the gloves back on! Singy bit, singy bit! All of a sudden it’s like I’m surrounded by people wearing dayglo hoodies and moaning about their how their mum wont let them out, except it’s all happening in my ears. Now listen, if you like this sort of thing, I’m sure it is all perfectly competently done, but I’m a man in my thirties now, with a handsome gut and nostril hair to prove it, and if I want to hear whining little teens I can turn on MTV. I have no desire to hear such things welded to otherwise meaty post metal, ruining it all like masturbating into someone’s cake mix.

I could go through the other songs, but that would mean going into detail about the bits where it gets laden down with strings so cringeworthy they belong on the X Factor, manipulating you into crying about some little girl not having a Daddy. I’d rather die than write about the excruciating chorus of ‘It Rains Down’. Suffice to say the balance between good and evil is not going well on the rest of the album.

When you consider that the other half of Mahumodo went off and formed the infinitely more interesting *shels, it really is a shame that it has come to this for Devil Sold His Soul, any trace of originality purged in an effort to go all in for the Fightstar market. If this is your cup of tea, then by all means knock yourself out. Or perhaps scald yourself on said tea. Perhaps consider sterilisation. And pull your jeans up, I don’t want to see your spotty bottom. Just don’t make me listen to this again, please?



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