Devil Sold His Soul

Blessed & Cursed

Written by: AP on 08/01/2011 12:59:25

When Rinoa disbanded a few months ago, the British underground was left in an unsatisfactory state. Where there once stood timeless genius there was now a gaping vacuum, with few bands willing or able to reproduce the dramatic, borderline cinematic sounds that seemed to come naturally to the five prodigies in Rinoa. But there is one more candidate: the enigmatic Devil Sold His Soul, who have spent the last three years evolving the forte needed to carry on the legacy of this most extraordinary of bands. Of course, this was entirely coincidental, as Devil Sold His Soul wrote "Blessed & Cursed" in parallel with Rinoa preparing their career concluding opus, "An Age Among Us". In fact, it is more than likely that the influence was reciprocal, each wunderkind fueled by the other.

Devil Sold His Soul convinced the critics early on their debut "A Fragile Hope", but "Blessed & Cursed" sees the band functioning as one unit at last, fusing into an unrivaled progressive powerhouse. With far more emphasis on the dramatic this time, Devil Sold His Soul put substance behind the title, drawing as much from the uplifting and cinematic as from the bleak and crushing. These polar opposites are depicted in songs that rely largely on a trudging tempo, upon which the band stack multifaceted soundscapes, often beginning with a whispering quietus before gradually escalating to a monumental crescendo. On the surface this formula might sound familiar, generic even, but Devil Sold His Soul have a unique talent for demanding the utmost of the listener. The songs don't simply follow an ascending curve, but rather, a sinusoid pattern in which the listener is jerked, thrown and rattled, then tranquilized, multiple times, exposing more detail on each iteration.

But the true beauty of "Blessed & Cursed" comes from the total cohesion of six band members already hinted at, coming together to produce the absolute best that they possibly can. Not for them the overriding focus on warped time signatures or individual virtuoso performances; Devil Sold His Soul think beyond the conventional. For it is ever so rare for a metal album to achieve such magnificence in the fields of both immaculate beauty and devilish ferocity, often at the same time, without resorting to smug guitar wizardry or rhythmic syncopation. The emphasis on "Blessed & Cursed" is on finding more in less by focusing on simple sounds and elaborating on them by unhurried degrees of detail. By stacking layer upon layer of ambient shimmer by way of delicate leads, exquisitely subtle samples and vocalist Ed Gibb's newfound clean range, on colossal powerchords and Gibb's more familiar, barren screams, Devil Sold His Soul truly earn their superlatives.

For "Blessed & Cursed" rewrites the definition of monumental, combining the very best of doom, progressive hardcore and post-metal into a boundless epic. With Rinoa now a thing of the past, Devil Sold His Soul are set to reign in as deserving heirs; their forward-thinking methods the kind of stuff that pushes the metal genre ahead. By boldly venturing where none have before, this London sextet pave the way for generations to come, and as such, "Blessed & Cursed" is as timeless an album as Rinoa's "An Age Among Us" - a milestone for not just metal, but for British music in general.


Download: Drowning/Sinking, An Ocean of Lights, The Disappointment, A Foreboding Sky, Truth Has Come
For the fans of: Cult of Luna, Isis, The Mire, The Ocean, Rinoa
Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.07.2010
Century Media

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