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Monday, December 28, 2009

Album Of The Week-"Heavily Ever After"-Devil To Pay (2009)

The "Album Of The Week" this week is "Heavily Ever After" by Devil To Pay.


"It'd be cool to say that with their third album, Indianapolis' Devil to Pay will finally hit the big time, but I have the sinking feeling that this four-piece will still be relegated to “local legend”/”should be bigger” status. Such is life in the trenches of underground riff rock. I'm sure the band's well aware of its destiny.

Still, it's not for a lack of trying. Sure, the band doesn't help maintain momentum by taking its time between recordings – three years have passed since Cash Is King and six since debut Thirty Pieces of Silver – and chewing through guitarists (new guy Rob Hough is their fourth) can't be good either, but as far as songs go, Devil to Pay has always not only consistently delivered, but they've also gotten better with each release. They may have started off as a more traditional stoner rock band, but they've grown into their own sound, finding the common ground between classic rock, classic doom, and classic metal.

That's a whole heapin' of classic, and it's reflected best in songs like “Distemper,” “When All Is Said and Done,” “Troglodyte Jive,” “Snake Charmer,” and “Zealots.” With frontman Steve Janiak's John Garcia-like howl and his and Hough's combined guitars supported by a rhythmic wall-of-sound from bassist Matt Stokes and drummer Chad Prifogle, these tracks (and to a slightly lesser extent, the other eight) show the band has a knack for heavy grooves that reverberate for days. I'd go on, but coming up with flowery ways of saying, "This is kick ass" goes against the band's straightforward approach. Ergo, understand that this kicks a serious amount of ass.

Sure, they could've trimmed Heavily After After down to a more economical ten numbers, but I wouldn't want to be the one choosing which song to cut (even the lesser “Mancuerda” is saved by clever, nonsensical lyrics like “swim through the mayonnaise”). At any rate, Heavily Ever After proves that these local legends should be bigger. Recommended." (John Pegoraro, StonerRock.com)

"Hold on tight to something, the tornadic Indianapolis, Indiana quartet Devil To Pay is back. After almost 3 years without a new batch of ear munchies. The new album "Heavily Ever After" is twisted fable of riffs that would make Iommi paranoid and Nugent want some poontang.

Life hasn't been a fairy tale for Devil To Pay's front man Steve Janiak, a few years ago it was almost cut short by a blood clot that formed after intestinal surgery, maybe this is how he gets the "Cobain on ludes" tone to his singing voice, and the apathetic yet inspiring lyrics, as though there is some inner demon just bubbling under the surface. These cats must play guitars dipped in syrup to get that muddy tone.

The tale: Heavily Ever After kicks off with the galloping rocker, "Distemper" which really shows off Chad Prifogle's wizardry behind the kit. He's really improved his chops on this one. The third track "Megistotherium" is another topic that has come up in previous D2P albums, Dinosaurs. The Megistotherium was a dinosaur that lived some 24 million years ago, is one of the largest terrestrial carnivorous mammals that ever existed, and has huge scissor-like teeth, able to rip apart huge prey. That should give you a good visualization of this heaving elephant of a song. The instrumental track Grimoires has an early 80's underground metal stomp to it, which makes me think, "Am I Evil?", merging perfectly into the head banging riff of "Thinning The Herd". The post-Apocalyptic groove of "Dead Wrong" might be my favorite track, although it's really hard to pick a favorite. These guys have the "it" factor, whatever the "it" factor is. I think it's different for everyone, to me its soul, being able to feel something. Art takes various forms. Sometimes it's a kick in the ass...

Production wise it's perfect, you're able to distinguish between every instrument at wall rattling volume, unlike a lot of releases lately where everyone is trying to be louder than everyone else and things get buried in the mix. This one will go down in my black book as one of the greats of 2009. Definitely play this loud and if you're close enough, see them live for the true effect, if you're not close check out their live DVD "48 Minutes". And always remember... no matter how bad life gets, we all live Heavily Ever After..." (Adam Walsh, Planetfuzz.net)

Track Listing:

01. Distemper
02. When All is Said and Done
03. Megistotherium
04. Morningstar
05. High Horse
06. Troglodyte Jive
07. Grimoires
08. Thinning the Herd
09. Mancuerda
10. Snake Charmer
11. Goat Leaves
12. Dead Wrong
13. Zealots

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