Dutch witch rockers The Devil’s Blood issue a sprawling invitation to buy in with their first Ván Records full-length, The Time of No Time Evermore. Based out of Eindhoven and thoroughly in league with Satan, the as-many-as-six-piece play high-energy classic occult prog with sonic references to Jefferson Airplane, Heart, Coven and Black Widow, most notably showing up in the form of the powerful female vocals that front the band. They’re on a no-name basis, so all you get with The Devil’s Blood is The Devil’s Blood, but we do know that Erik Danielsson of Swedish black metallers Watain co-wrote “The Yonder Beckons” with the band, and that that dude knows the Devil personally, so at most there’s one degree of separation there.
In listening to The Time of No Time Evermore, I was surprised in comparing it to the prior Come, Reap EP that Profound Lore put out last year at how relatively metal it is. The guitars don’t shy away from carrying across an ‘80s metal vibe, as heard in songs like “Christ or Cocaine,” the stomping “Queen of My Burning Heart” and even the soloing on “The Yonder Beckons.” Think Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Vivian Campbell’s work on Dio’s The Last in Line and so on, both tonally and in terms of the riffs, The Devil’s Blood seem to have superimposed ‘70s acid prog and classic metal on top of each other in an offering to their (and, they hope, everyone’s) dark lord.
The Satanic stuff is a lot of fun, but it should be apparent there’s some serious musicianship at play here. The vocal melodies are complex, rich and strongly performed, making “House of 10,000” voices a high point of The Time of No Time Evermore, along with the track “Evermore,” the driving rhythm of which begins the album following a short intro (“The Time of No Time”) in a hit-the-ground-running way that hooks you listening before you even realize it. Songs like “Angel’s Prayer” are deceptively complex, layering acoustic and electric guitars on top of each other while the rhythm section pushes the song forward at an almost bouncing clip. The Devil’s Blood, on a purely aural level, are accessible, nuanced and catchy. Their sonic blend has already won them allies the world over, be it opening shows for Pentagram or playing Roadburn, and The Time of No Time Evermore is only going to increase their reach.
Though it was unexpected, the “heavier” turn in approach suits The Devil’s Blood incredibly well, and by the end of The Time of No Time Evermore, they make it seem like the most natural thing in the world for a band to do to pull these usually disparate elements together. It’s rare to think of a band’s future influence on their first album, but provided The Devil’s Blood can keep the level of output up – if the growth evident between Come, Reap and The Time of No Time Evermore is any indicator, they’re getting to where they want to be on the quick – then I can’t imagine there won’t be other acts who in their wake pick up on similar kinds of mutated retroisms. It’s a bizarre avenue toward originality, but there isn’t another act doing what The Devil’s Blood do right now, and though they’ve already made a considerable splash in doom and underground metallic circles, I imagine the best is yet to come from this mysterious Eindhoven outfit.
Tags: Eindhoven, The Devil's Blood, The Netherlands, Ván