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Devil You Know: The Beauty of Destruction
As a fan of Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage, and enjoying the work of Francesco Artuasto from All Shall Perish, I was anxious to hear what these two could accomplish together in the new group Devil You Know. Earlier this morning I took a swing through town and slapped in their debut album The Beauty of Destruction to accompany me on my errands. Sadly, after only a few songs, my anticipation quickly changed.

What greeted me was a mixture of mild Death Metal laced riffs and Metalcore hooks on “A New Beginning.” There was a little extra complexity and aggression in the guitars and, musically, it was an interesting mixture of melodic leads that would shift into commanding one-chord chugging rhythms with a bleak atmosphere. The vocals, however, wound up being pretty standard outside some higher screams in the chorus and a rich growl towards the end. But then came “My Own,” which just came off like the band trying to capitalize off the sound of Killswitch Engage in the main verses, though the introduction and other bridges had a decent groove to them that helped it stand out a little more. Howard had some extra range in his performance, but the layering on the clean singing sounded horrible, and sadly wasn’t the last time it happened.

“Embracing the Torture” brought in some technicality to the hooks that found a heavy focus on growling vocals. The music again stood out with a commanding touch and hint of Arch Enemy aggression, but then the chorus copped to simple leads and more horrible clean singing that really killed the flow. Admittedly, the breakdown did save it a bit though. The deeper shouting and effects utilized against some bludgeoning distortions on the guitars and tight quicker paced spurts of blasting from the drum kit really made these passages after the short but sweet guitar solo make me want to pound my fist repeatedly against the hood of my car, which I instinctively gave into with hope that things would pick up for the better from this point on.

Sadly, I was wrong. “For the Dead and Broken” kicked in, and again incorporated more of the terrible clean singing and generic music. Despite some two-stepping, the lighter performance definitely had a more mainstream Rock vibe laced with effects on the guitars that would have better served as additional keyboards against a richer distortion. Aside a decent slower pulsing breakdown, this wound up being nothing but forgettable cannon fodder modern Rock radio stations will probably whore the hell out of, and I was happy to see it go.

By the time “Seven Years Alone” kicked in, a pattern was becoming pretty clear. This was another heavier track, though not quite as aggressive as “A New Beginning” or “Embracing the Torture.” There was some better clean singing, but only in the sense that the effects and layering creating more of a watery sensation instead of coming through clashing, off-key and a little more distant for no reason whatsoever. “It’s Over” again reverts to lighter material through ballad main verses with somewhat eccentric Alternative Rock grade heavier distortion works as well as the returning horrible clean singing. If you don’t get it, it clearly didn’t work at all.

Look, I enjoy the work of pretty much everyone involved in this band, but the first twenty-two minutes of The Beauty of Destruction was just painful to sit through. For the most part, the music was pretty good aside some forgettable material and generic riffs every other track. Sadly this album sounds bulky, there isn’t much originality outside of “A New Beginning” and “Embracing the Torture” which I hope will change in the latter half when I get to it, and bland to god awful vocals in nearly every aspect. As it stands I can’t see Devil You Know really gaining much speed as a group, but given it’s Howard Jones on vocals, I know the Killswitch Engage fanboys will come flocking and kiss the ass of everyone involved, making this band bigger than what the talent on display in the first half of this album gives them any right to have.

Devil You Know
Devil You Know

Digital review copy of this release provided by Nuclear Blast Records.