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Devil : Magister Mundi Xum (Demo)

If Devil lack a bit of magic, they are full of addictive groove.

Devil has the sense of narration. From the outset, the album moves in a cinematic dimension... rainfall, thunder that rumbles, a quick gallop, a door creaks and you are welcomed in the dusty lair of the band: Devil, a Norwegian quintet, practicing some groovy Stoner Rock, well anchored in the tradition set by bands such as Witchfinder General, Bedemon or Asylum.

Devil totally focus on the seventies side of their music, delivering an invigorating Rock, adorned with a healthy dose of groove based on some 'wohhoohoohooo', undulating vocal lines and catchy choruses. The singer expertly infuses life into the lyrics. His laments, now melancholic, now more aggressive, fit well with the lively melodies of the combo: simple but effective drumming, very direct riffs - but dynamic and varied enough to keep you interested in all the tracks - and a funny satanist side (the lyrics are based on... guess what? the devil, horsemen of the Apocalypse and pentagrams). Punchy, well put together, the songs follow on with ease.

Devil, I must say, is a band without magic: their compositions are square, but lack the little extra spark of ambition that would bring them on the upper level. That being said, there are still very interesting moments on this demo: the second part of 'Time to Repent', which shows a more ambitious instrumentation, almost progressive; even the darkest threatening aspect of 'I Made a Pact...' (I put a spell on you sings the guy, it is justified); 'Welcome the Devil' as a whole is a good song that is closer to Doom as played by the Maryland bands: full of cunning, cool rhythms and keeping that dose of dark provocation peculiar of the primal Trad Doom).

The prod is minimalist and raw, which could repel some. But on the whole, this is honest music, without any affectation, without any gimmicks (no flute, no echo effect on the voice, no ‘black mass’ atmosphere). No pretention, just good old Doomy Rock, energetic and without ulterior motive. To sum it up, with this demo Devil take up their place on the Doom scene and certainly prove they are a band to be followed.

Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Arrival (intro)
2. At the Blacksmith's
3. Spirit of the Cult
4. Time to Repent
5. I Made a Pact...
6. Welcome the Devil

Duration : Approx. 23 minutes

Visit the Devil bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-01-22 by Bertrand Marchal
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