Deville, Hydra: The Birthing of Battles

Posted in Reviews on March 21st, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Even before Hydra is a heavy rock album, it’s a rock album. The third full-length from Malmö, Sweden’s Deville and first for their new label, Small Stone Records, has its roots in Foo Fighters as much as, if not more than Kyuss, and it’s a difference of presentation and method that runs deeper than one might initially think. A lot of the trad stoner tonality that showed up on Deville‘s first two studio offerings, 2007′s Come Heavy Sleep and 2009′s Hail the Black Sky, has dissipated, but if you listen to those two albums in line with the 11 tracks of Hydra, the latest still seems a logical extension of their methods, if one driven in a more straightforward, less fuzz-reliant direction. The band recorded themselves, with drummer Markus Nilsson handling the engineering, so one imagines they knew what they were doing and that the clean, crisp, professional sound they wound up with on these songs wasn’t an accident. Even in terms of the songs themselves, one can see a difference. Not troubling itself with intros, outros or interludes, Hydra also finds Deville tightening the structures of their material, so that in its varied array of moods, there’s only one song reaching over five minutes long — the penultimate “Imperial,” at 6:31 — where each of the prior two offerings has had four. That’s probably not a conscious decision on the band’s part, that is, they likely didn’t sit down and say, “Okay guys, time to write shorter parts,” but it’s another example of Deville departing their stonerly beginnings in favor of a more straightforward take, skirting the lines between hard and heavy rock an an almost track-by-track basis.

Clocking in at a vinyl-ready 44:35, Hydra makes a strong opening statement in its first three tracks, “Lava,” “Iron Fed” and “In Vein.” Each is opened by Nilsson‘s drums and finds vocalist/guitarist Andreas Bengtsson leading the band with guitarist Martin Hambitzer and bassist Markus Åkesson contributing to the momentum. Right away, the band carries across their sonic shift — again, not so drastic that if you heard Deville before you wouldn’t guess you were listening to them again, but still a marked change from the first two records — but if Hydra‘s first volley proves anything, it’s that the tradeoff comes in the band being tighter performance-wise and clearer in their intent. “Iron Fed” chugs through its verse en route to one of the album’s finest hooks, something mid-period Dozer would’ve been proud to hang their hats on, and keeps motion central even in its lead break, which hits right where it should at the end of the second third of the track, right before the chorus comes back in, once and then again with more feeling. Hardly a slowdown, “In Vain”  sees Åkesson come forward in the mix, joined by a guitar swell in the chorus, as Bengtsson pulls back on the vocal thrust to ride the groove kept active by Nilsson‘s upbeat snare. It’s in line structurally with most of the rest of Hydra, but “In Vain” also serves as the first signal that Deville have more to offer in terms of mood than the driving rock they’ve so far presented.

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Deville Announce European Tour in Support of Hydra

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 25th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Leading to a performance at this year’s Desertfest in London, Swedish heavy rockers Deville have announced a run of shows that will take them around Western Europe in support of their new album, Hydra. Their debut on Small Stone (third album overall), Hydra also reportedly has a vinyl issue coming from the Detroit imprint, which sent over the dates and info below:

Sweden’s Deville will be hitting the road starting April 9th in Berlin Germany @ White Trash. The three week tour will also include stops in Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, and a UK date at Desertfest London on April 26th. In the meantime, do yourself a favor an go get their brand new album Hydra, It is rather fantastic. And yes, there will also be 180g ltd vinyl version available in a few months, but the cd and digital download versions are now available.

Deville on tour
04/09 Berlin, Germany White Trash
04/10 Vienna, Austria The Shelter
04/11 Hohenems, Austria ProKonTra
04/12 Sull’arno, Italy Santa Croce Rock City
04/13 Vercelli, Italy Officine Meccaniche
04/14 Treviso, Italy Punkyreggae pub
04/15 Torino, Italy United Club
04/16 Bologna, Italy Distilleria
04/17 Pescara, Italy Qube
04/18 Milano, Italy Ligera
04/19 Lyon, France Trokson
04/20 Aix-en-Provence, France Le Korigan
04/21 Barcelona, Spain Rock Sound
04/22 Madrid, Spain Sala Barracudas
04/23 Iluntz Taberna Guipuzcoa, Spain
04/24 Paris, France Le KLub
04/25 La Louviere, Belgium La Taverne du Theatre
04/26 London, UK Desertfest UK
04/27 Den Helder, The Netherlands De Engel

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Deville’s New Album Hydra Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on January 16th, 2013 by H.P. Taskmaster

Well, Small Stone certainly seems to have taken Bandcamp by the proverbial horns. The venerable Detroit imprint will issue the label debut from Swedish heavy rockers Deville come March 26, and though that’s still more than a full two months off, Hydra is streaming in its entirety now on the player below. Maybe Small Stone wanted to get the word out on the record early in advance of Deville performing at the annual Small Stone SXSW showcase this coming March — a gig that will hopefully come surrounded by a run of US shows that also includes a NY-area date. Likely more on that in the weeks ahead and I’ll have a review of the album at some point before it’s released as well.

Till then, guitarist/vocalist Andreas Bengtsson sends word about the stream and some of the band’s doings for 2013:

Small Stone Records streaming new Deville album!

Hi! Small Stone Records are streaming the new Deville album “Hydra”!

Here: http://smallstone.bandcamp.com/album/hydra

Out 26th of March!

Deville signed to Small Stone Records and are confirmed for SXSW Austin, Texas, Desertfest London 2013, SFTU, Erfurt among other festivals and tours.

During 2011 and 2012 Deville have been stuck in the studio most of the time except for some european festivals and random shows. After two full length albums and a couple of hundred shows all around Europe the new record is a product of that. Trying to take this experience of what the band does best and what works live this new record is more wide than previous releases.

best regards!
Andreas/Deville

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Deville Sign to Small Stone Records

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 29th, 2012 by H.P. Taskmaster

Kudos to Swedish heavy rocking four-piece Deville on their signing to Small Stone. The Detroit label, who’ve already had so busy a 2012 that I haven’t been able to keep up with reviewing everything, seem not to be slowing in the slightest as 2013 comes on, and Deville — who answered Six Dumb Questions here about their last album, 2010′s Hail the Black Sky – will join the ranks of Five Horse Johnson and their countrymen in Mother of God as an early 2013 Small Stone release.

So again, well done to the band. The announcement from Small Stone was quick and to the point:

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sweden’s Deville to their new home here at Small Stone. Their new album tentatively titled ‘Hydra’ will be coming out in early 2013.

There you have it. I know I’ve posted it before, but here’s Deville‘s video for the song “Lava,” which is nothing if not worth another look.

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