Since finding a new vocalist in Paul Green, Devil Sold His Soul have found a new lease of life in the studio. But could they bring it live? This is what we learned...
Devil Sold His Soul, live in London
Venue: Camden Underworld
Support: Empress A.D., Empire
Empire's Joe Green is the star of his own show
Empire frontman Joe Green strikes you as the kid who was the most annoying grebo in the skatepark. You know the type of person we mean, the one who was always constantly on a mission for anyone and everyone's attention by stressing how random they are, and having a MySpace page that puked glittery kittens everywhere. Taking to the stage in an ill-fitting jumper that he's seemingly nicked from Dennis The Menace, his flamboyant dancing and jokes about touching people with his 'willy' all paint the picture of a man trying far too hard. Furthermore while his vocal aerobics are undoubtedly impressive they are also extremely overbearing and draw all attention away from the band's music.
Empress A.D. offer little to get excited about
Empress A.D. are hideously boring tonight. While there are the odd big riffs that threaten to get heads banging, they always end up descending into dreary and dull plod-along metal that is complemented by monotone vocals. The band have about as much charisma as a damp dishcloth and struggle to hold interest. Perhaps their music isn't the type of party jams people crave on a Friday night, but it is a set that washes over those gathered here tonight and leaves little to no memorable moments.
Metalcore has passed Devil Sold His Soul by
While there are two distinct sides to Devil Sold His Soul's music, the metalcore scene that the band emerged from is obviously the heart of this band. It still offers a hefty punch with the band sounding vicious tonight, but it's hard not to feel like it's all been seen and done before. There are certainly some gritty moments but ultimately it's hard to shake the feeling they have been eclipsed by an awful lot of bands who have taken this sound into different directions or simply done it better.
The other side of DSHS are where they excel
Where the band's strength does lie is in their atmospherics. The songs where the band are given a chance to soar and create glorious soundscapes are where they are at their best. When electronics man Paul Kitney gets a chance to really shine and make his presence felt, the results are when this band are at their strongest. It's testament to a set highlight being Time which offers something far more beautiful than you will get from many metalcore shows.
It is crunch time for DSHS
Ultimately it results in Devil Sold His Soul being in a strange limbo position. While there are obvious strengths to this band, there's also a sense that ultimately they don't have too much to offer the world these days. The crowd gathered here are largely static throughout, with people being disinterested and sneaking off before the band have even finished. The new material aired from their forthcoming EP fails to connect, and screams more of the same rather than fresh and exciting. That aforementioned EP will give them a chance to prove their worth, but off the back of tonight it's starting to feel like Devil Sold His Soul's best days are behind them.