Devilskin’s Red Album Review

Down the rabbit hole I go to wrap my ears around “Red”, the latest album by New Zealand’s “Devilskin” and MAN am I blown away!!!

I’ll dive right in with the first track, “Do You See Birds”, which starts in hard and heavy. It has a punk vibe, sort of like if 311 was wearing full body armor. The chorus is unexpectedly melodic – very tasty! I sort of feel like I’m in a dark Alice in Wonderland like tunnel, with four different voices coming out of the crevices to taunt and torture. The break brings a small space of relief from the carnage, with a cool stop to follow that up. WOW! What a cool trip… I think I’m speechless….

“All Fall Down” is next up and has a completely different sound. It has this awesome video game like vibe leading into some smooth and deeply compelling vocals. Jennie Skulander is by far one of the best women vocalists in this genre and it shows in every passionate note. The pre-chorus is groovy and has tribal-like drums that reverberate through my veins AND A GUITAR SOLO!!!! (So friggin’ cool). Everyone who knows me knows that good guitar is a special weakness of mine and this left me jello from the shear shock value. The metal guitars in t”All Fall Down” were the cherries on top – seasoned and tight!

The third song is “Corrode” and despite the name, the lower tuning of this song will knock the rust right off your brain. It’s refreshing to hear such heaviness without it going to balls out crazy. Rather, it’s more restrained and sinks way deep down into your soul. At the same time, it has some major attitude going on. I have to say by this time, I’m a true fan!

Not to be outdone, “Eyes Red Heavy” has another groovy riff, but completely different. It feels like trying to come to after a long night, or stay afloat in the middle of a busy tour schedule. The vocals are amazingly sultry and smoky, while the backing vocals are spot on. I hear a “Heart” influence in this song with the HUGE chorus but updated. It has just the right amount of synth that leads up to YES!!! Another guitar solo. Jennie Skulander left it all on this song – magnificent! And, was that a steel guitar in the outro? Loved that too.

“Same Life” picks back up with some angry metal vocals, but it has this “Beach Boy Goth” vibe going on with the melody. You know that, sort of rock a’ billy, sort of surf, sort of punk, with goth icing on top? However you want to try to figure that out… (buy the album!….) – I’m totally digging it! The megaphone effect is genius. In fact, all the effects I’ve heard so far have been very well placed.

I generally only listen to two or three songs at a time to keep my ears fresh…

…Getting back to it is track 6 on “Red”, “The Victor”. There is a repeating melody opening the song and this one NEEDS to become Sirius Octane GOLD – it’s amazing. The vocals and backing vocals go into a spine-tingling break-down and has this boutique amplifier sound that layers on stellar character. This is the sort of song that transcends you. It’ll leave you different for having heard it, in the best of ways.

I thought after “The Victor” that it couldn’t possibly get any better, but “Blood Bone” keeps it going. This song starts out ominously, with a slow groove that falls into chunky guitars and melodic vocals. I feel like I’m in a “Lord of the Rings” type journey, at night, with pouring down rain. I’m walking victoriously off the battlefield with many bodies left behind.

Track 8, “Endo” starts with soft vocals and subtle guitar, almost acoustic-like, but breaks into a lively “Time to Wake Up” riff and begins another amazing spotlight of Jennie Skulander’s vocal prowess. “Endo” has a magnetic melody and amazing progression into some vicious metal. This song would be great in a post-apocalyptic adventure movie. Turn it up LOUD when you want to break shit!

“Bright Lights” comes on with a killer guitar tone and a great use of cymbals, along with a true maestro’s touch with the hoo-haw. The vocals have an additional dash of pop and sound doubled up, creating a hugeness that builds to a crescendo middle-eight. The hook is catchy and will stick to you for a long time!

Every track is sick and “Sweet Release” is no exception. And, speaking of sweet, there are some sweet effects going on now. You are going to want to bust a move to this one, as it has a more dance-able groove. I really like how the guitars know how to bow out a bit to fully allow the vocals to shine through the verses. This is my new “Time to Kick Ass” song.

Now, what’s this???? A little bluesy/sludgy/swamp riff with some matching dirty vocals. I feel like I’m rolling around in the mud in the Bayou on a hot day – loving every minute of it!!! Just another dimension to this band’s multi-faceted wheelhouse, and they are nailing it! This song needs to be on every honky-tonk jukebox with the soulful lead guitar…, and someone goes to church with those backing vocals. Get you some, baby!!!

I’m pretty depressed that I’m at the last track…. “Everybody’s High but Me” comes back with a punkish beach-goth vibe that is scrumptious. It starts loose and angry and then tightens up before letting loose again. You’ll be pumping your horns high to this one if you aren’t totally killing it in the pit… whatever your preference. Fun Song!

The biggest thing that impressed me about the “Red” album, and Devilskin as a band, is that they aren’t afraid to break the rules. You see, somewhere along the way, “someone” decided what metal is, what it’s not and that’s just completely sad and wrong. Rock n’ Roll, especially metal and punk and the more extreme varieties is about BREAKING THE RULES.

THANK YOU Devilskin for breaking the rules. You ARE what Rock n’ Roll is all about and I salute you!

Pre-Order Red:

“Red” will be released on April 3rd and you aren’t going to want to miss a minute! You can pre-order here:

Follow Devilskin:

Check out the third track on the album, “Corrode”:

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