Rock has played host to a number of memorable debut albums over the years, and in time, there is every chance that people may look at Dark Manoeuvres from Devilfire in the same way. This first release by the Birmingham-based British rockers is an extremely strong record, and even though there are thirteen tracks on the album, it is very hard to identify any weak songs or those that could be deemed as ‘filler’. To further enhance the quality of the music on show, the album has been mixed by acclaimed producer Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine).
Dark Manoeuvres opens with the rocking one-two of “Ready For War” and “She’s Like Fire” which very nicely set the tone for the rest of the record. Both tracks come in at just over three minutes long and contain the catchy lyrics and sing-a-long choruses that come to define the rest of the release. “(In And Out Of Love) All Of The Time” is the third track on the album and brings a slightly slower change of pace from the first two tracks, as the band begin to demonstrate the variety in their songwriting.
Moving through the rest of the album, there are a number of other standout tracks amongst the very strong overall lineup. This includes “Lay It On The Line”, which contains some strong guitar work and “(You Gotta) Revolution”, which is probably the most political song on the album and has already become a popular track amongst the audience during the bands’ live shows. This is no doubt also helped by the heavy main riff that’s present and a chorus which you can’t help but raise your fist and sing along to. Both tracks also feature some clever and inventive lyrics, which appears to be another of the band’s early trademarks.
Bringing the record to a close are “A Thousand Times” and “Somehow”, two tracks that probably best demonstrate the variety of different sounding songs the band are capable of producing. The first is a classic melodic rock track with one of the strongest choruses on the album, that easily gets stuck in your head. “Somehow”, on the other hand though, is a very raw and personal track for vocalist Alex Cooper and just features him singing to the accompaniment of an acoustic guitar. It’s another of the album’s highlights and seems a fitting way to close the record.
In conclusion, what is probably most remarkable about Dark Manoeuvres is that, although the sound has clearly been influenced by some of the classic rock releases of the 1980’s, the album still has a very fresh and modern feel to it. In addition, each song is allowed to have its own identity whilst maintaining the band’s core melodic rock style throughout. In the words of frontman Alex Cooper, “With this debut album, we’ve taken our time to curate the best possible music we can at this stage, and I honestly believe we’ve accomplished what we set out to do.” It’s hard to disagree. Dark Manoeuvres is a great debut album, and Devilfire are certainly a band whose progress it will be exciting to follow.