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Devil to Pay - Forever, Never or Whenever Award winner

Devil to Pay
Forever, Never of Whenever
by Dani Bandolier at 07 December 2019, 5:47 PM

DEVIL TO PAY (2002) is from Indianapolis, Indiana in the big ol’ US of A.  From their Home page data I see that this, their 6th release entered the November 2019 Doom Charts at #9. Not one song on this slab is what I would call Doom, but the crossover Force is strong for those of us in this heavy rock-sorta metal genre.  I make this distinction as I have a few particularly puckered acquaintances that wouldn’t listen to Baby Metal if you labeled them a Doom band. I know … but if there is a point where you just won’t have anybody to have a beer with if you can’t see past the … uh huh. This music genre labeling contrivance is just the ersatz currency of “the muzak biz”… oh well.

There are 10 tunes on this release and man, I can hear every note. Every word. All drum toms reporting as ordered, sir! These cats got it down good when it came time to stand tall before the Marshalls and microphones wit dem hard discs a-spinning.  The song writing here is fully realized. Singer-guitar slinger Steve Janiak was hospitalized and this experience led to the song content on “Forever, Never or Whenever”. “Heave Ho” is the first tune on this release and for some reason my advance copy has this song repeated a second time. Maybe this is a slightly different re-mix or the lads just thought I needed to listen to the song twice. I guess I have the DEVIL TO PAY. Catchy bit of songsmith here. No lack of a strong chorus on this song.

“The Devil's Barking Up Your Tree” comes swinging in with giant steps and has some great lines, both lyrics and a spitting fuzz guitar lead – what is that effects pedal? – that throws down before Steve growls “When the fires are big and bright, well there’ll be some shit-eating grins tonight”. No gratuitous profanity here … shit, I think that line is kinda funny. “The Cautionary Tale of Yen Sid” track 3 has some beautiful harmonized guitar parts … Iron Maiden tight and to the point. I really am a sucker for that kinda guitar thang.

… and so the guitar thang proceeds on “Get on Down”. Well-cuffed riffs and leads … brothers and sisters, the whole disc is like this. “Forever, Never or Whenever” carries on thematically the life and death alliterations with the whole band pounding boilermaker backups to Steve’s solid vocals. Nice song breakdown and guitar-bass comping on “Imminent Demise” - just long enough to get the point across. I would like to see these cats play a live show. Not one ounce of fat on this hog leg release. Some solid squared-away songwriting on parade here, fo sho. Writing and performing a whole connected work like a music release on a singular theme is challenging. DEVIL TO PAY got this right.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Heave Ho
2. The Devil’s Barking Up Your Tree
3. The Cautionary Tale of Yen Sid
4. Get On Down
5. Tap Dancing On Your Grave
6. Imminent Demise
7. 37 Trillion
8. Light Sentence
9. The Pendulum
10. Anti-Gravity Depravity
Lineup:
Matt Stokes - Bass
Chad Prifogle - Drums
Rob Hough - Guitars
Steve Janiak - Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Ripple Music
     


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Edited 17 January 2020
 

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