This album, the debut full-length from Australia's Devil Electric, is a right old groovy, stomping bastard, loaded with chunky, resonant riffage; a naturally flowing live feel; and plenty of laidback charms. Treading the sonic ground between stoner and doom, the semi-fuzzed-up guitar sound also posits the band's sound between a retro rock and metal aesthetic. As such, it's an interesting amalgam of arse-rattling doom metal and chilled-out, beefy stoner rock, albeit the bias is most definitely towards the latter.
Songs achieve a genuine sense of heaviness, but without succumbing to any obvious metal extremities. So, there are no blast beats; no shrieks, screams or growls; no mind-bending, technical fretboard wizardry across a ton of different time signatures. Here, we simply have good, old-fashioned, heavy guitar riffs set against down to mid-tempo (and occasionally faster paced), rhythmically catchy bass/drums, topped off with some alluring vocals. Simple, but drastically effective.
Frontwoman Pierina O'Brien's vocals, while not mindblowing in any sense, are loaded with soulfully expressive character. A little more grit in her delivery, over certain passages of music, would have added another dimension to both her voice and the songs, although that's a minor criticism. Her voice is hauntingly effective and fits the general feel of the instrumentations perfectly.
O'Brien takes a backseat on a couple of numbers, with the two "ith" instrumentals that are thrown into the mix - 'Monolith' and 'Lilith'. Both are effective little pieces in proceedings (the latter's particularly atmospheric), although would've benefitted from some kind of segue from/to the preceding/subsequent songs, to make them feel less disjointed in the tracklist. Generally, though, the tracklist is as free-flowing as the music itself.
In short, the songs on Devil Electric's self-titled debut are unpretentious, raw, retro (yet refreshing), and pulsating with stoner/doomy vibes. This bunch of talented Antipodeans sure know how to groove their arses off, and it sounds like they're having a whole heap of fun while doing so. As Bruce Campbell would say: "Groovy!"
Review by Mark Holmes
11th August 2017
1) Monologue (Where You Once Walked)
3) Lady Velvet
4) Acidic Fire
6) The Dove and the Serpent
7) The Sacred Machine
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...an interesting amalgam of arse-rattling doom metal and chilled-out, beefy stoner rock..."