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The Devil and the Almighty Blues - Tre Award winner

The Devil and the Almighty Blues
by Mike "Bitchin" Bourgeois at 09 April 2019, 6:47 AM

When I was 21, back in '87 not only was I introduced to real Blues music, I actually spent a week drinking beer with and listening to the legendary Lovie Lee, former pianist for blues god Muddy Waters. The stories he told me were amazing, including one of his first meetings with Robert Johnson, and Lovie had no doubt in his mind Robert really did make that deal with the Devil at the crossroads. Whether it was true or just beer fueled yarn spinning, I ate it up eagerly. So when THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES “Tre” appeared in my in-box, I rushed to listen to it.

WOW! Haunting, mesmerizing, hypnotizing, all inadequate in conveying what this Norwegian Prog Blues (best way I could think of to describe their music in a simple term) does to my nether region. What was most striking was the unique interplay between guitarists Petter Svee and Torgeir Waldemar Engen. From the opening track “Salt the Earth” their styles worked to near perfection. Never in your face but always present, the sound feels like it's on the verge of exploding but with great control they keep it either squeaky clean or just by changing the intensity of the attack go full blown distorted. This is fully realized on the track “Heart of the Mountain.”

The voice of Arnt O. Anderson is a perfect fit for those two guitarists, guttural, raw, and emotion filled it serves well solo or with a chorus like on my favorite song on the album “No Man's Land. Bass player's take note: what Kim Skaug does on “Time Ruins Everything” is a perfect example of a simple bass line completely changing the feel of a song by skirting and framing the root note, simply brilliant. Kennth Simonsen is similarly gifted in making what normally would be a straight 4/4 blues beat and adding emotion through simple tom fills and switching to a ride cymbal to add more impact at the right time.

This is a masterpiece of music, there is not one thing I can hear wrong with it. It almost has me believing there is a Devil and this is his band, his creation, brought to life to show us metalheads the beginning of metal was in the blues and DON'T YOU FORGET IT! Lovie Lee's bass player told me "You might be cool, but you'll never be old black man on a piano cool", but DAMN! THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES “Tre” come pretty damn close, and that is high praise indeed!

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Salt the Earth
2. One for Sorrow
3. Lay Down
4. Heart of the Mountain
5. No Man's Land
6. Time Ruins Everything
Arnt O. Anderson – Vocals
Petter Svee – Guitars
Torgeir Waldemar Engen - Guitars
Kim Skaug – Bass
Kennth Simonsen – Drums
Record Label: Blues for the Red Sun


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