Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Devil Sold His Soul - Blessed & Cursed

It’s been three years since Devil Sold His Soul’s debut album A Fragile Hope was finally released to a degree of hype. It’s also been far too long a wait for a band that was on the cusp of promising things to deliver a follow up. Their blending of metalcore vocal lines and occasional breakdowns with lushly tonal and dense instrumentation marked a moment of excitement for this act. So now with sophomore record Blessed & Cursed they have their opportunity to re-take that promising path.

The mystic yet creeping scaling intro of 'Tides' eventually explodes invigoratingly into the earth shattering 'Drowning/Sinking' and really puts into focus what this album is about. The crossover they’ve created from many, to use an only vaguely accurate phrase, “core” influences and thickly heavy and experimenting influences of Cult Of Luna reaches an impressive stream on this record. Across the ten tracks this ideal is only intensified.

'Callous Heart' brings the punishment only to lead into 'An Ocean Of Lights'’ aching poignancy. While the guitars, drums and keyboards/samples collide for a staggering and glowing soundscape, vocalist Ed Gibbs truly excels. His post hardcore informed voice gels gorgeously with the weighty meeting of seismic guitars and the results of the din created is in all, blissful. A grandiose and spectral vibe runs throughout Blessed & Cursed as edified by 'Frozen', slowly burning to a cataclysmic crescendo. As well as that the gentle piano led verses of 'A Foreboding Sky' similarly erupts into a dazzling close.

Blessed & Cursed is an example of how to every action is a reaction. When Devil Sold His Soul are at their darkest and most crushing here, the aura eventually swerves to their melodic shades. This spectacular dichotomy is never once faceless, it’s wholly candid. For proof look to 'Crane Lake'’s intro, its sheer ardent guitar work comes avalanching in only to plunge into sharply delivered devastating passages.

It’s energetic, strikingly heartfelt and passionate. While certain airs of despondency reigns with some tracks, overall Blessed & Cursed is a cathartic and exhilarating record. It’s an unexpected triumph in many regards from a band who were laying low for far too long – with this, things could, and should, change.


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