Metal Blade Records
January 17th, 2012
Release length: 1:15:52
The audio here carries with it a slight nostalgic rawness in the quality, but ultimately is still rather clean. While the instruments do sound crisp and the vocals loud and clear aside some background shouting that is muffled and distorted quite a bit when it shows up, such as during “On the Wings of Gloria,” the music itself caters into the psychedelic aspect of the style, and thanks to the additional echoes and effects used at times, you’ll sense a sixties kind of atmosphere that can play on your perception of the music. It’s obvious the recording is more on the modern side, but the sound, music, and effects clearly do their job well. The guitars, for the most part, have a clearer sixties rock sound, again mostly finding the echo effects driving them at times, but it all works well to weave a dark tone to the album. The bass does a superb job backing up the guitars, and the rhythm the two create is fantastic with the drums that can be trance inducing at times, but largely with the cymbals. The slight echo on them, as well as on the snares really adds for a bit of a trippy experience as it stands with the bass kicks not really having much of a distortion, but adding a little extra bite to the bass of the music thanks to the deep thud that comes through.
After a brief amount of silence, the instrumental introduction “Unending Singularity” starts in with a piano piece that sounds old and ragged, eventually giving way to the guitars and drums at a distance building up slowly to bleed into the longer “On the Wings of Gloria.” The song introduces listeners well to the passion the band brings into their darker lyrics and music, as well as the obvious early Psychedelic Rock of the sixties and early seventies that fuels the band’s foundation. The seven minute and fifteen second track is carried greatly through bridges that come off surreal through effects and distortions that compliment the cleaner, yet unsettling verses against a subtle, yet rather beautiful and well-fitting female vocal performance that fits the overall tone perfectly. But it’s the some of the longer tracks such as this that really push the psychedelic aspect, which is one of the main driving forced behind the sound of The Devil’s Blood. Sadly, the title track “The Thousandfold Epicentre” doesn’t really cater to this, and eventually the song does grow really old rather quick. The music is a little too simple here, and even though there’s a good deal of energy behind the vocals and even in the music, the main bass chugging riff does become tiresome, and there’s just nothing all that amazing about the song to keep you invested in it. Even the atmosphere seems to drop out after a little while.
Many of the shorter songs don’t really have that sort of foundation, sticking more towards the atmosphere music is giving off while capturing a straight forward sixties Rock. It’s not bad, but at the same time doesn’t really come off as anything too impressive or unique. “Within the Charnel House of Love” is an entertaining song for what it is, taking a bit of a laid back approach compared to some of the more energetic tracks with shorter lengths that do stand out more. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work out too well for the band. The environment is there, and the music is solid, but that’s about it. The music is rather bland, though not really enough to be called filler. It does end up being on the boring side. “Cruel Lover” does manage to do a lot o things right that this track tried to do, and in a lot more time. The music really does feel stronger with in both atmosphere, as trance inducing sound. There’s no psychedelic elements outside a few bits of noise effects that appear in some of the empty parts that bass doesn’t really fill up, and the vocals have some layered singing with echoes when it gets energetic. You easily can feel engrossed by the rich melodies and catchy chugging rhythms to make a song that isn’t completely different to the style, but far more enjoyable in the long run with enough small elements to keep it from being boring quickly after it starts.
Songs like “She” and “Fire Burning” become more like breaths of fresh air for this recording amid some of the more stagnant material that does creep up. “She” is just a very passionate track that has a rich sound and very dark overtone to the Rock music. The rhythm is simply infectious, and the energetic moments are captured well and feed into the emotion behind the lyrics and music. Meanwhile, “Fire Burning” really does bring a faster pace to the music, going a bit above a traditional mid-tempo pace with solid music that weaves a seductive tone to the music, allowing the listener to drift away by its beauty that feels perfectly at home with an occult sensation. There’s also the song “Everlasting Saturnalia” that is a little odd, but in a good way. The slower paced track in no way really feels out-of-place, but it definitely feels as if it were geared towards playing in a hypnotic manner, and when it ends, the music becomes heavily distorted, furthering that concept through eery, unsettling noise and distortion that bleeds into “The Madness of Serpents.” It’s an interesting approach, but it does seem to quickly fade away during the start, and it’s largely in the vocals that the music carries the torch. The song itself feels heavier with a much stronger, and even louder bass presence, as if the shift from putting the listening into a simple trance has gone to an extreme narcotic high that blends both dream and nightmare together for quite a long amount of time. Eventually it goes back to the same kind of noise it started with after a series of passages that come off heavier and catering to the nightmarish aspect that goes into a clearly fevered sound musically, though at the same time more astral in atmosphere, with “Feverdance.”
The Devil’s Blood clearly seems to be trying something new towards the end of the album, and in many ways it works, and in many ways it doesn’t. “Feverdance” does end up being a little more bland despite being accurate in atmosphere with its title, and the two previous tracks are really unique for the band and have their good and bland moments, the same with some of the shorter tracks here. But, there’s nothing on The Thousandfold Epicentre that really feels like a bad song. The atmosphere is rich for much of the album, and the songs vary between trippy and beautiful yet still dark. Fans of the bands pushing this early Rock sound forward in recent years will definitely get a kick out of this album, though there will be times the listener is going to be tempted to hit the skip button, and may end up doing that on later spins on some songs. Either way, The Thousandfold Epicentre is an album that can easily cast its spell over you…a good majority of the time that is.
01. Unending Singularity – 2:21
02. On the Wings of Gloria – 7:15
03. Die the Death – 3:59
04. Within the Charnel House of Love – 3:41
05. Cruel Lover – 7:37
06. She – 5:48
07. The Thousandfold Epicentre – 9:16
08. Fire Burning – 5:14
09. Everlasting Saturnalia – 6:22
10. The Madness of Serpents – 8:41
11. Feverdance – 15:39
|Overall Score: 7/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.