The Devil Rides: Severance

While listening to Severance I can hear the dedication, talent and patience that the band put forth in making such a fantastic debut album.

Severance: The act of being severed.

Separation is a theme that is prominent throughout The Devil Rides self-produced debut title: Severance. The album which was recorded at the groups studio dubbed The Space, and self released on The Devil Rides own label; The Space Records is a 12 track album with a sound ranging from The Beatles to Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age to ZZ Top.

I managed to snag a copy earlier this week and I am impressed. The overall production handled almost entirely by Ben Gallaway is professional sounding with great instrumental separation. Ben’s drum sound is thick and cuts right through the mix, completely avoiding the often anemic drum tone often heard on self-produced albums. Mark McMillan’s bass tone is audibly thick and sits nicely within the mix providing great grooves throughout the album. The rhythm section sits nicely in the pocket, whilst providing a dynamic bottom end. Jeff Black’s guitar is tastefully played, with a varied and often crunchy tone.

Jeff Black remains a mystery when it comes to guitar influences. I hear some Jimmy Page, a little John Christ from Danzig, as well as Josh Homme, however Black manages to combine his influences to come up with an original playing style.

Overall, The Devil Rides plays well as a band, each member plays off each other’s strengths and no one is guilty of overplaying or underplaying. The overall performance is dynamic and professional.

Lead singer Julian Lane takes a melodic vocal approach often sounding like a bastion of Dave Grohl, Kurt Cobain with the soaring melodic range of Bono. Lane’s varied vocal approach is strong in its delivery with clear diction and concise enunciation.

Musically ‘Severance’ is a Rock record through and through with enough twists and turns to keep us listeners fully engaged. Track 1 ‘The Room’ begins with a stomping groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Mastodon record, yet filled with enough variance to keep the listener guessing. Track 2 ‘Swell’ : a track that has received local radio play as well as positive audience reaction at the bands shows. ‘Swell’ opens with a Queens of the Stone Age sounding drum groove that promptly breaks into a straight forward melodic groove filled with dynamic performances throughout.

Throughout ‘Severance’ we are greeted with instrumental interludes such as Track 6s ‘This Is Me’ with its Black Sabbath meets The Doors acoustic guitar melody, and eerie backing vocals that would not sound out of place on a Tools Aenima.

We have nods to Nirvana with track 7s ‘Christopher Lee.’ We have the poppy yet powerful rock i.e. The Foo Fighters on Track 7 ‘Fell The Liar.’ The group takes a detour to the Mojave Desert on The Desert Sessions-esque jazzy instrumental Titled ‘El Ballada De Miguel Valadez (part 1.)’ which occupies Track 10.

Lyrically one could get the impression that Severance is a concept album; however my impression is that the group wanted to sequence the album allowing an overall vibe to take foot and allow the tracks to seamlessly flow one and other. so forth.

Julian Lane, the group’s vocalist and primary lyricist, often revives various themes throughout Severance. We have power being taken back from corrupt world leaders on Track 8s ‘Fell The Liar.’ Self-proclaimed gods woefully seek power only to crumble on Track 7s ‘Christopher Lee.’ We have dreams of escapism, as well as plots to sever ties on Track 1s “The Room.” We have our protagonist seeking guidance through an unnamed source on Track 9s ‘Nomad.’

On Track 4 ‘Outside’ finds our protagonist born again on the outside, long since escaped from the darkness portrayed on Track 1s ‘The Room. ‘ Track 11s ‘Falling’ reveals the source of our protagonists pain, a mothers reminder of a father who has long since gone from the world. Overall Severance is one’s journey into death, redemption, rebirth, corruption, truth, and struggle towards dominance.

While listening to Severance I can hear the dedication, talent and patience that the band put forth in making such a fantastic debut album.

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