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Devil’s Hand – Devil’s Hand

Devil’s Hand
Devil’s Hand
by Anton Sanatov at 10 February 2019, 11:03 PM

When the devil sings in your ear, you dance whether you’re wearing your tap shoes or not. I am, of course, speaking of guilty pleasures here – yes, those sugary treats that look so appetizing but are in essence far too processed to be good for you; and yet they land so nicely on the tip of the tongue don’t they?

The 1980’s were full of such delicacies. As Glam Metal and sweetly dusted Hard Rock dominated the airways, one can say that substance may have taken a back seat to let the pleasures of the senses push the ride. And yet, for all the ‘cookie cutter’  goods that glistened on the counters, there was always a handful of pioneering acts that truly embodied the musings of the decade of decadence and created a sound that would resonate for years to come – a sounds that many of us miss. But be not afraid, for Andrew Freeman (of LAST IN LINE fame) and Mike Slamer are two industry veterans who are more than capable of taking you back in time to experience the better side of things as they evoke the true spirit of 80’s Hard Rock on their collaborative effort “Devil’s Hand”, a throwback that is quite a catch.

I shall be honest in saying that “Devil’s Hand” surprised me…a lot. As I came in expecting yet another overly nostalgic offering of AOR, I was astonished by how strong and confident this record sounds. Opening up with two ear-catching, DOKKEN-esque numbers “We Come Alive” and “Fallin’ In”, this album holds no shame in flaunting its well-known influences. And it shouldn’t. For these Rockers instantly infuse the atmosphere with slick riffs that are punctuated by flashes of airy synthesiser hits and Freeman’s pipes.

Steady Rock numbers like these maintain a good, albeit flat pace, and certainly glisten if not sparkle as you appreciate the musicianship and songwriting. Yet what also makes “Devil’s Hand” so interesting is its subtle, but genuinely varied sonic consistency. Although it relentlessly pursues its flavorsome 80’s aesthetic, the record also manages to put keep the listener on his/her toes by threading in an array of tonal alterations that turn this otherwise old rag into a fine piece of fabric. Examples of this are seen in the LYNCH MOB-inspired, somewhat Bluesy heartbreakers “One More Time” and  one of my personal favorites “Unified”, both of which pack a gritty punch to their melodramatic content and explore an arsenal of melodic approaches to make them pop. The tracks may not offer anything spectacular, but their modest panache is exactly what makes them so easy to digest and enjoy.

Yes, ‘enjoy’ is most certainly the verb here, for above all, “Devil’s Hand” is just pure fun, and as you listen to more dynamic tracks like the VAN HALEN anthem “Another Way To Fly” and the MR.BIG powerhouse closer “Push Comes To Shove”, you can’t help but be infected by the Rock ‘N’ Rock zeal that gushes out of these tracks; they are just pure fireworks.

With a discography that goes back to the 70’s and a prolific session career, Mike Slamer most certainly knows his way around the studio and is just a pure genius with the pen. The production on the record is almost flawless, and the songwriting, as by-the-book as it may be, is as sterling as the proverbial spoon. The record just flows, christening every minute with precision and respectability. The songs never reach beyond their grasp and simply fall into place as the tape rolls on.

Overall – be not afraid to sample this seemingly forbidden fruit, for it may actually be good for your soul. “Devil’s Hand” is no maverick, but neither is it a plain follower, it is simply a good record that is astute in its execution and passionate about its cause. If you’re a fan of great songwriting and fine-tuned musicianship – not to mention the golden era of Hard Rock – then this may certainly be your cup of sugar.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 6
Memorability: 7
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. We Come Alive
  2. Falling In
  3. One More Time
  4. Another Way to Fly
  5. Drive Away
  6. Justified
  7. Rise Above It All
  8. Devil’s Hand
  9. Unified
  10. Heartbeat Away
  11. Push Comes to Shove
Lineup:
Andrew Freeman - Lead Vocals
Mike Slamer - Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Chet Wynd – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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Edited 17 February 2019
 

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