REVIEW: DEVIL TO PAY – A BEND THROUGH SPACE AND TIME (2016)

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Riffs? Hell, yeah. But so much more

The first track lifted from “A Bend Through Space And Time” was called “Your Inner Lemmy” (which Classic Rock Magazine suggested sounded like a “long lost Motorhead song” ….errr you think?) and if that song was all you knew about Devil To Pay, then actually putting on the full record might come as a touch of a surprise.

This, y’see, is less Biker Rock than some kind of cross between Kyuss and Corrosion Of Conformity, but with some trippy Doors-type lyrics chucked in for good measure.

The reason for the latter, probably comes from the fact that the past decade has predominantly found the front man Steve Janiak unearthing lyrics from what many might consider the “Other Side”. Attributed in no small part to the hallucinatory visions and flashbacks he experienced while hospitalised after falling deep into a drug-induced coma a few years ago.

The band keep things a little simpler, merely suggesting that their sound is “all about the riffs, man” and that to a large extent is true, because throughout the ten songs here there’s about a million of them – indeed lengthy closing song “The Demons Come Home To Roost” is just an excuse to keep churning them out at varying speeds – and its perfectly possible, as well as downright fun, to enjoy the album on a purely primal level.

But give it a few listens and you might just want to look beyond the swinging , thumping stuff. The first line on the record gives a clue: “Wake up your mind…..” suggests “On And On (In Your Mind)” and in so doing this album becomes a real trippy delight.

“Don’t Give Away The World” a track with balls the size of watermelons, builds itself to a fuzzy little frenzy – and you’re nodding your head in a solidarity before you realise that you don’t have a clue what Janiak is talking about, but hey, no one has ever understood a Clutch song either and they still rule.

“Laughingtock” is built around a lead part and chorus that is simple and almost fist-pumping, while “The Meaning Of Life” is so bursting to rock it begins with a solo that would make Woody Weatherman envious and “Recommended Daily Dosage” gets cowbell points, which is always welcome.

“Knuckledragger”, as you’d hope from a song called that, is the heaviest and most monolithic thing on offer, while there’s a sense of urgency about “Kerfuffle” that makes it better than QOTSA would have managed even that their peak.

Even in what has been a wonderful year for the fuzzy, and the riff driven, “A Bend Through Space And Time” stands out as something truly superb. That said, if you still want a reason to buy this (trust us you really don’t – its brilliant) then how about this? The drummer here is called Chad Prifogle. Really, what else do you need?

Rating 9/10

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