Reviewed by Meghan Player
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the release of Chiodos fourth studio album, Devil – and it’s certainly appropriate to believe the hype.
The unexpected, instrumental opener U.G.Introduction takes you completely off-guard, with the piano rising to a dramatic crescendo, driving our level of suspense. A calm before the storm, if you will.
We’re Talking About Practice plunges the album into some solid rock riffage. It’s punchy, in-your-face and gives the listener the perfect shot of adrenalin to kicks things off. The abrupt ending of the track however, only makes the sudden impact of Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now that much more brutal. The core screams of returning frontman Craig Owens, play off the technical metal riffs that dominate the track.
The album takes another unexpected turn with Why The Munsters Matter as a handful of orchestral strings open the track, before the crunching, chaotic guitars threaten to crush your soul once again. ‘...tell me what the hell we are here for…‘ Owens screams, as if he’s pleading directly to the listener.
3am churns out another fresh melody, with the band moving towards a cleaner, more radio-friendly rock sound – creating a noticeable contrast to the tracks that preceded it; before Sunny Days And Hand Grenades launches into a series of frenzied guitar melodies.
A creaking door – that feels like you’ve stumbled onto an alternative version of Michael Jackson’s Thriller – introduces Duct Tape, before phonograph distortion heralds the arrival of a new set of demons. The track is genuinely superb – creating a dramatic, cinematic element to the album.
The bass heavy melody of Behvis Bullock, coupled with the whirring chaos of riffs and growls, takes the listener by surprise once again. As the track progresses, you can almost hear Ron Burgundy saying ‘Well, that escalated quickly,‘ as the band start to edge towards a darker and heavier sound.
That’s all before Looking For A Tornado begins which, surprising to say, is an acoustic track. On the surface, this seems like a strange move for Chiodos to break up a plethora of punishing riffs with a low-key acoustic track, but in all honesty, it works perfectly; with the “little ray of light” peaking through an undoubtedly heavy album, creating an astounding contrast.
It’s then, as the band kicks the album back up to eleven with Expensive Conversations In Cheap Motels and heads towards the subtle, and somehow achingly sad, ending of I Am Everything That’s Normal that you begin to realise what a rollercoaster ride this album has taken you on.
Overall, this is an impressive release from Chiodos. The album shows a band that are not afraid to take risks or change the “formula” that dominates so many other post-hardcore releases. While the album itself may have more twists and turns than an M.Night Shyamalan movie, it’s not without its charms – and it certainly promises exciting possibilities as to what Chiodos will do next.