|Melodic Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Bury the Casket Records, Self-release
September 12th, 2014
Release length: 36:45
The Devil Tunes definitely shows the band having matured their Thrash Metal growth into a darker, almost Deceased-like atmospherically charged machine. “In for the Kill” shows this quite well, having obvious themes along those lines in the main verses before churning out a far more aggressive, and equally as addicting chorus to tie it all up. There is a breakdown just past the two-and-a-half minute mark that isn’t really necessary, but doesn’t cause any harm in its attempt to build up a little extra tension before heading into the ly melodic closing. “The Madman’s Portrait” is also worth noting. Right away it sounds like it wants to belt out into some infectious two-step drumming to accompany the slightly aggressive riffs and vocals that have a little more enthusiasm, but you don’t quite get that. It’s a shame, but the richer drum presence in the chorus does make up for it well enough. But then you have the opposite in tracks like “Apex Beast”. This cut has a very dominant Hardcore personality behind it with plenty of Crossover Thrash elements thrown in for good measure, never breaking character.
“The Devil’s Tune” lends a gritty, atmospheric performance with more of a Swedish Death Metal presence, creating subtle landscapes that could easily pass for an Arsis track, all the while maintaining the group’s identity. The bass guitar shines through with a noticeable twang at times, though that is hidden deeper within the blasting bridges that hit from time to time. “Shoot ’em in the Head” has it’s share of chugging riffs that take on a dark, almost rainy Nordic tone. While it isn’t exactly there, the implication is confirmed during the Tyr-grade epic chorus that is as morose as it is hard to get out of your head.
But, of all the songs with influences on their sleeves, it’s “Out With Your Feet First” that hurts the band a bit. While there’s a decent Thrash Metal presence behind the main riffs, it all sounds incredibly familiar. This is only solidified upon hitting the melodic chorus that will have Children of Bodom fans replacing the lyrics and identical vocal structure with that of the song “Hate Me”.
One thing The Devil Tunes has working against it right off the bat is the somewhat thinner instrument presence. There is enough of an impact to grab the listener’s attention, and there’s no denying nearly every track has a solid performance from start to finish. This issue comes down to the cleaner, digital sound and how little attention is really paid to the bass during the songs or passages that have far more complex leads than those composed of faster chords or a tighter chugging foundation, which is a considerable amount. There’s also the vocal presence from Valendis Suomalainen captured in a way that just makes it less intimidating, even commanding. This isn’t to say she does a bad job, but it definitely would have been nice to have her podded up a bit more in the mix instead of being at a volume that just makes her role sound less vital to the mix than the sound effects that start or end tracks like “The Devil’s Tune” and “Shoot ’em in the Head”. Given all of this, it’s easy to understand how the listener can end up distracted after a while.
Aside the faults, The Devil Tunes is a surprisingly catchy effort that mixes both melody and aggression in a highly impressive manner. And, really, given the amount of time Dead Samaritan has existed, at this point fans should expect no less than quality compositions and precise execution, all of which is delivered in spades by the band. It’s a shame that it took so long for this quintet to finally reach the point of stability in order to finally unleash their second full-length album since having formed all the way back in 2001. Thankfully it’s been time that clearly wasn’t wasted. Sure, there’s a number of people out there who will look into Dead Samaritan on the basis that they are a female fronted group from Finland, but if that’s the only reason you dive into this group’s material post-hiatus, then you’re doing yourself a great disservice. Dead Samaritan prove they have what it takes to make a name for themselves across the globe, though only if they lay off the aforementioned Children of Bodom knock-offs…
01. In for the Kill – 3:30
02. Out with Your Feet First – 2:40
03. Raise a Riot – 2:57
04. In the Wake of Burning Churches – 2:45
05. The Madman’s Portrait – 4:12
06. The Devil’s Tune – 2:05
07. Darkness Brings the Beast – 3:08
08. The Fire of Contempt – 3:28
09. Apex Beast – 2:53
10. Shoot ’em in the Head – 3:22
11. Last Man Wears the Crown – 5:45
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10