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Devil’s Desire – The Soul Remains Alive

Devil’s Desire
The Soul Remains Alive
by max at 12 December 2020, 2:45 PM

DEVIL’S DESIRE is big, looming, ominous, and powerful, judging by the cinematic way they start The Soul Remains Alive. The intro track is spacey and features lots of orchestration that sets the mood. Then the band shows us their brand with the title track, which is a classic, 80s-style IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST charger, with a heavy emphasis on vocals. And the vocals are indeed a worthy focal point; they are capable of flowing between high screams and sonorous midrange with admirable effortlessness; in fact, on “Midnight Salvation”, it sounds a tiny bit like Rob Halford when he stays out of the crazy falsettos that only he can do. It’s like the 80s in another way, too—a lot of importance on creative guitar work. The alternating guitar and drum solos on “Midnight Salvation” are a formidable stab at capturing the atmosphere of a live performance.

“Never Surrender” is an uplifting, melodic charger of a song, lumbering along with decisive intent. It starts with a long and soothing guitar melody, and even when the song is in full chugging mode, the guitar still mirrors and plays off the vocal melody which produces a satisfying fullness. The only thing is that now that the album is three (proper) songs in, the somewhat ‘faraway’ quality of the guitar tone (as well as the other instruments) becomes really noticeable. It’s odd, because although there are riffs and melodies happening all the time, the way it is mixed makes everything except the vocals feel like background noise and robs it of a little of its punch. The only time this is not true is when it comes to solos; the lead work on “At Nightfall” is strong, aggressive, and takes the front of the music when it comes. “Invisible Evil” also soars with a legato-laden shred moment that bleeds into the ensuing vocals.

Although songs like “The Gate” have some very cool lead melodies and harmony moments, the medium pace (of the whole album actually) and the similarity of a lot of the rhythm parts can make sections where there isn’t a cool melody distracting you feel bland. It’s not an ever-present problem by any stretch, and is usually alleviated quickly when it starts to set in. On “World in Chaos”, the band seemed to sense this, because the verses have a more staccato feel to them at least in the beginning, and the prechorus is barked out a little, in a slight stylistic change. The song also features ambient keyboards which while not to my taste, is another way they introduce variation. The chorus is underscored by a nimble tremolo riff and is easily the strongest part of the song.

My least favorite thing about the album other than the puzzlingly distant-sounding instrumentation is the interlude on “Invisible Evil”, when everything but some light percussion and bass drops out. I can tell they were going for a sweeping, epic build, but it feels hollow and bare. They find their spark again on the final song though; luckily, “One War Two Paths” is full of gallops, drum fills, and energetic melodies. The solo in particular feels like the moment a champagne cork finally pops; it’s played with the most wildness of any on the album. A fitting conclusion to any album.
Overall, this is a decent effort that has a few problems keeping it from being wholly good. The first is the production, which as I already mentioned makes everything seem distant and hard to really grasp. And secondly, the band is too monolithic with their rhythm parts and it often seems like song after song is resting on the same backdrop of tremolo picked or galloping low notes with a few chords thrown in. But there are great moments too; inspired melodies on tracks like “The Gate is Here” hint at the dynamic powerhouse that DEVIL’S DESIRE could become.

Songwriting: 8
 Originality: 7
Musicianship: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Enter the Devil’s Ground
  2. Devil’s Desire
  3. Midnight Salvation
  4. Never Surrender
  5. At Nightfall
  6. The Gate Is Here
  7. World in Chaos
  8. Invisible Evil
  9. One War Two Paths
Lineup:
Jefferson Moura Melo – Guitar, Vocals
Gio Smet – Guitar
Record Label: Independent
     


Rating

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Edited 27 February 2021
 

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