Hailing from the Land of the Long White Cloud, Devilskin are a four piece coming out of Hamilton and are releasing their second album Be Like The River. The band have been together since around 2010 and is a real family affair; Paul Martin on bass and his son Nic rounding out the rhythm section on drums, Nail on guitar (aka Paul’s evil twin, complete with matching dyed goatee) and vocalist Jennie Skullander, who is also Paul’s sister in law.
Having to follow on from a debut album that was a number one album in your home country and went platinum can be a daunting task, butin my view this did not seem to have presented a problem. Devilskin went back to the team that worked so well for the first album We Rise. The album was recorded in Modern World Studios, Tetbury in the United Kingdom (Tetbury’s telephone dialling code is 01666! – English Ed.) and has Clint Murphy once again at the helm producing and mixing with Ryan Smith of Sterling Sound New York, undertaking the mastering.
These Kiwis have delivered and this album is a belter that grabs me from the first track. Dispensing of any instrumental build up, the first song In Black is straight into it and gives listeners immediate introduction to the powerful voice of Skullander (similar to Amy Lee (Evanescence) combined with the ability to growl at times like Angela Gossow (Arch Enemy)).
Not letting up the momentum is the first of the two single releases, Mountains. It’s quite a catchy track with a good driving rhythm section and some simple but nice riffs, topped off by an easy sing along chorus and showcasing how good Skullander’s voice is. The second single Pray is another catchy track with some nice hooks, tempo changes, and added piano fills and at times guttural growled lyrics.
I find what I think is my favourite of the album to be the track Voices, a more balladic track that builds up and grows ever more powerful throughout the song, Skullander delivering lyrics like “I have an army and their voices are loud!” from the heart. Another favourite is the bass driven Animal, which is quite a departure from the rest of the album sound but sounds magnificent. Limbs lyrically deals with the topic of alcohol dependence, and is quite a good take on the topic – “How much alcohol is too much? The substance is taking over, I am far from sober.”
The album is a strong offering with no song that could be considered filler. All thirteen tracks are simple rhythmic numbers with a driving beat in general, proving that you don’t have to be put together a technically amazing track to write great music. From start to finish there is enough on this album to get this reviewer really interested.
Tracks of note are: In Black, Mountains, Voices, Believe in Me, Animal and Limbs.
Be Like The River is available as an 11 track album and 13 track deluxe pack via Rocket on 11 November 2016.
Devilskin are also touring Australia next year in support of Halestorm, you can catch them at:
The Corner Hotel, Melbourne January 10
Factory Theatre, Sydney January 11
Triffid, Brisbane January 12