Exile on Mainstream Records
October 22nd, 2013
Release length: 46:23
(Stream hosted by The Sleeping Shaman)
“Monolith” starts off well enough with catchy Stoner Rock riffs that have a decent loud buzz to them, though there are parts of the song where the bass ignores the hooks and goes for a bit of technicality, leaving some open riffs with little bass to back them up. “Egoknights and Firearks” has some lighter infectious riffs that drown out the vocals, and some of the drum kit as well. The chorus sounds tighter with an upbeat atmosphere that allows the twanging background chords to shine through without dropping what richness does exist. While this makes a solid enough opening, it’s the closer, “Honeyhole”, that puts the bass guitar to good use, ushering in some ritualistic drumming and an astral vibe that really does sound heavy, keeping your interest alive the entire seven minutes.
Both opening tracks set the stage for the rest of the album well, but it’s really the chunk of interludes that stand out the most. “Interlude #1” kicks things off with some feedback and other distant notes and drumming before shifting into “Boy vs. Tree”. The slower pace makes the rhythm of the snare drums pop, and the riffs set up a hint of Southern bass-driven voodoo ritualism, closing with thinner technical hooks that drop the atmosphere entirely. It does bleed into “Interlude #2”, building some tension with the deeper, restrained chords that pave the way to the slower, somewhat crushing “Morning Sun”, coming off like a decent extended breakdown. About half way through the pace picks up, greeting the listener with a truly catchy experience with louder vocals and a more upbeat approach. The twanging bass really helps too, especially at the end when the music almost explodes in volume and pace, leading to the sad desolation that is “Interlude #3”.
While The Devil and His Footmen isn’t a bad album, the chunky audio, drowned out vocals, and loud buzzing distortion actually restrains the music horribly. While the riffs themselves aren’t bad, the distortion causes them to sound lifeless more than anything, and the distant B-52‘s style singing you rarely pick up on is incredibly frustrating to deal with. One thing you can do to try and make the experience better is turning the volume up as high as you can, or can tolerate it, giving the buzzing a little more definition. Other than that, multiple spins actually does help out. There isn’t much extra than what is on the surface, but the way some songs link together and the varying atmospheres do come together at the end to make the recording a little more fluid than what you’ll perceive at first.
The Devil and His Footmen has some obviously good intentions, and while it’s not bad, it’s just boring unless you crank the volume, and even then it has some patches that make little to no impact. Beehoover clearly tried to do something different, experimenting with their sound from the past few releases with volume levels and different approaches to the music itself. If this were handled like their previous album at the very least, it would be chock full of performances with infectious rhythms that could easily have your head bobbing along harder than it does here. The Devil and His Footmen is nothing more than a collection of catchy songs that fans of Beehoover will still enjoy to an extent. If you’re new to the band though, this is definitely not the best jumping on point.
01. Monolith – 5:28
02. Egoknights and Firearks – 4:50
03. Rooftop – 6:45
04. Interude #1 – 0:52
05. Boy vs. Tree – 4:21
06. Interlude #2 – 1:11
07. Morning Sun – 4:46
08. Interlude #3 – 1:46
09. Dear Mammoth – 4:06
10. My Mixtapes Suck Big Time – 5:13
11. Honeyhole – 7:05
|Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10