Devil Sold His Soul
However, many bands are still forging forwards with bringing innovative and inspiring new music into the world – and Devil Sold His Soul are doing it with a powerful finesse. Their new record is aptly titled ‘Loss’ and sees their ambient metalcore sound elevated to punishing new heights.
For bassist Jozef Norocky, the themes on ‘Loss’ have only become more pertinent throughout the pandemic: “We started writing the music for the album three years ago, but the vocals were mostly recorded in the spring of 2020 once the global situation had changed.
“There were individual reasons why the album deals with 'loss' as the theme, but it is sort of tragically poetic I suppose that the events that unfolded last year synched up so well with what we wanted to express. I haven't seen any family for over a year at this point and I'm finding it very difficult, to be honest. I know I'll look back on this as a very unnerving and emotional time, and the album perfectly sums a lot of that up.”
As if all of that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, after Brexit, musicians in the UK have also yet to work out how to navigate around the red-tape barriers that have been erected with regards to touring in the EU, even once all coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. This is just another way in which the music industry is at the mercy of the powers that be: “Of course, I have no idea how it will affect us at the moment.” Jozef comments. “As soon as we can do some shows we will be there. Until then we're at the mercy of the decision-makers.”
“Ironically, it’s as I've gotten older and become aware of my own limited time here and my own mortality that I've felt more and more catharsis in heavy music. When I was growing up it was 'Oh, that’s a badass riff!'; now it's 'Oh, that’s a badass riff and I'm so glad to be alive to hear it!' - I don’t know if that makes sense!
“I have a few bands that inspired me personally for sure. The Beatles made me love music, Foo Fighters made me want to play music, White Zombie and Slayer made me want to play metal, and Will Haven made me want to be in a band with brutal screaming!”
“Linkin Park blended literal pop with distorted guitars 20 years ago. There are moments where rock and metal are more mainstream and then it retreats again until another band comes along and crosses over. But that’s never really interested me and has no influence or effect on Devil. We've always only ever done our music how we see fit to write it.”
When it comes to the lasting impact that Devil Sold His Soul wish ‘Loss’ to have on their listeners, the most significant element isn’t the dynamic changes on tracks like ‘Witness Marks’, the haunting bridge on ‘Acrimony’, or even ‘The Narcissist’s stonking great riffs that would have so invigorated the young Jozef. It instead comes from the lyrics that speak so powerfully to the listener. This album confronts the horrific reality of grief and absence, whilst also creating a sense of camaraderie in the fight against the darkness. As Jozef poetically remarks: “Devil has always been about balancing something abstract with something relatable.
“For me, a record or a movie or any art should be judged on its effectiveness in achieving what it set out to achieve. The album attempts to convey the myriad feelings associated with loss. The loss of a loved one, the denial, the anger, the sadness, perhaps more recently even the loss of individual liberty. I would love it if a listener took away a sense of gratitude for what they have that others may no longer have in their life.”
Devil Sold His Soul - Loss is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.