Remember that film Sliding Doors? Imagine a similar event happens in the early 2000’s in the world of metal. In the timeline we live in, Cradle Of Filth released Nymphétamine, and buoyed along by catchy choruses, naughty lyrics and a healthy dollop of endorsements by Bam Margera, they became the black metal band. At least, for a time they did and they never quite reached the heights they once managed.
In an alternative timeline, the one where Dani Filth misses the train, Cradle Of Filth decide to capitalize on their mainstream success, eschewing blastbeats and dissonance for groovy rock beats, earworm choruses, cheesy sexual theatrics and irony self-reference. They become the biggest band in the world, a modern day KISS, and save us from our horrible lunge into pseudo-fascism by single-handedly funding our eventual colonization of Mars (isn’t that how Sliding Doors ended?). Luckily for us, here in the post-truth dystopia of 2016, Devilment exist and are releasing music for all of us to enjoy. And how enjoyable it is.
The writing on this album should not be underestimated. What I initially mistook for generic heavy metal is in face black/death metal so infectious we’ll probably be able to track album sales by watching reports of outbreaks and hospital lockdowns. Without fail, every single song has a hook so damn memorable and fun you’ll be humming it back to yourself before the next track starts. Whether it’s a lyrical rhythm, vocal phrasing or instrumental melody, there’s always a moment where you finally hear the bald-faced and pronounced personality of each track. To assuage any apprehensions that Mr. Filth has lost his bite, there are some super heavy moments as well that will keep an old mosh-curmudgeons perpetually headbanging on public transport.
Devilment know how to play to their strengths across the entire album. Filth’s unique vocals never feel like a mere ‘guest appearance’ and never overshadow his bandmates. They perfectly suit the occultish sexual themes and (im)mature allusions to evil that many of his fans are likely accustomed to. Likewise, each cheesy section of vocal melodrama provided by the talented Lauren Francis tempers the more extreme moments. Such sickly sweet melodic interludes contrast against the heavy breakdowns and make them seem just that little bit heavier.
I get the feeling this album will raise the ire of some metal elitists, but stuff ‘em; they’re missing out on a genuinely fun album, meticulously crafted for maximum pleasure. This is the type of metal that will have running in a circle with a huge grin plastered across your face. It’s not a joke or so-bad-it’s-good, but simply good fun.
With a name like Devilment, the band could not have picked a more apt name. Listening to them is akin to watching someone burn down a condemned church; ultimately no one got hurt, it was cool while it lasted and it was all for a worthy cause!