Be Like The River
By Jay Oakley
New Zealand powerhouse Devilskin are just waiting and foaming at the mouth to take over the States and the world. Coming off their Platinum-certified debut album, We Rise, they have delivered their follow-up, Be Like The River.
"In Black" sets the pace with a smooth, yet heavy musical delivery with emphasis on Nic Martin's heavy, pounding drums. A very solid start to the record. "Mountains" is the album's first single. Down-tuned by a step makes it a very powerful song as the lower playing pushes the vocals forward. "Pray" is the second single from the album and is very riff heavy with well places intertwined piano playing. This song is also the first to feature singer Jennie Skulander's vocals with a grit and roar to them. "Voices" has a slight ballad feel. However, it continues with solid vocals and has very enticing and soulful lyrics. "Believe In Me" opens with a very stylistic guitar riff which is repeated throughout the song as bridge. This is one of my favorite songs on the record lyrically. Very uplifting and connectable. "F.Y.I." is revved up and is definitely an anger release. Featuring aggressive lyrics, heavy roars and in-your-face guitars. "Bury Me" has a heavy riff mixed with quick, chopping drums. It features a slower instrumental breakdown that bridges to an excellent guitar solo from Nail. Jennie shows yet another side to her range as she hits some very high vocals. "House 13" is one of the standout tracks. Paul Martin's bass playing shines in a very powerful way and is later mirrored by another stellar solo from Nail. "Grave" is a slower track but doesn't lack any power. Lower end playing with with the drumming in the foreground. A scaled down instrumental section to the song gives an acoustic feel before supercharging the end of the track to a furious finish. "Animal" opens up with Paul's bass playing with light backing from Nail around Jennie's vocals which have a much more melodic delivery. This is the only song that lacks some presence from the drums but it doesn't hurt the flow of the track due to the heavy finish. "Limbs" is an interesting track. It's solid and well written. I like the lyrics a lot but due to it's showcase of many different styles, does have a feeling of lacking an identity or particular musical direction. "Closer" is the ballad of the record. An acoustic design with a violin backing. It does pull on your heart-strings and gives you that feeling of, "Wow, I know what they were feeling when they wrote that." And, "We Rise" wraps up the record by melting your face off. Heavy, heavy, heavy. Everyone is featured, playing aggressive and Jennie delivers a much angrier and grittier delivery. "We Rise" also has that anthem feel, especially when the title is featured in the chorus as the crowd will be able to get behind it and chant with their fists in the air.
Devilskin has already made waves but now they're trying to deliver a tsunami. It's easy to say that they sound like this band or that person. I prefer to say, "They sound like Devilskin."