[International Review] Devil Sold His Soul

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ARTIST: Devil Sold His Soul
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
RELEASE DATE: 9 April 2021

UK-based ambient post-hardcore band Devil Sold His Soul have been around since the mid 2000s and, up until 2021, have released two EPs and three albums – the last release being seven years ago. A lot has changed for the band over the years, most notably the departure of vocalist Ed Gibbs being replaced by Paul Green from The Arusha Accord, but they’ve always kept their heads up and pushed forward with their positive attitude towards creating music .

Now, almost 20 years after they first started making a revered name for themselves, they have released their fourth album, “Loss”, and it is the ultimate synchronization of everything that’s come before and what is to come. With Gibbs’ return to the band, the interplay between he and Green is a duality made in heaven. They sing, they scream, they harmonise going back and forth creating sultry layers of sonic dimensions that take your entire being through hell, heaven and everything in-between. But, it is the foundation laid down by guitarists Jonny Renshaw (who produced the album – more on that later) and Richard Chapple, bassist Jozef Norocky and drummer Alex Wood that has given these empowered vocalists the opportunity to shine.

Renshaw’s production on this is immense. The nuances of various synths and effects that underscore the already powerfully melodious music just makes this album stand out even more. He truly is, in my opinion, the unsung hero that has given this beast of an album an uppercut into another universe. The 10 songs on this album all flow magically together. Sonically speaking, it bashes you into a state of submission, but then allows you the time to just catch your breath again. And as your mind ebbs and flows through this rigorous pummeling you are reminded that this is exactly what life is. And life imitates art. And “Loss”, make no mistake, is a piece of art. It’s what I imagine Hans Zimmer would sound like if he wrote for a metal band.  I’m not sure how it’s possible to have goosebumps for an hour, but that’s what this album did to me. It reduced me to a child-like state – sniveling and anxious – and then built me up again with a far more positive attitude than I’ve had in years. For music to create a fundamental change in your mindset is no easy feat. And for that I must thank them.

To put into words what this album truly means is incredibly difficult, because it’s a feeling that cannot be described, but rather must be experienced. In this modern age of metal where it seems that either being as brutal as possible or technically superior is all that matters, it is such a breath of fresh air to hear a band that actually focuses on a beautiful message and tells a story that unifies heart, soul and melody. “Loss”, in the opinion of this reviewer, is the definitive album of the Covid-era, as well as DSHS’s career. Good luck following this one up, boys.