There’s something invigorating about witnessing a band scratch and claw their way to the top, with unrivalled perseverance. It can be a privilege to see a band go from strength to strength with each step, taking each setback in their stride but as the old saying goes, what doesn’t kill you…
Devil Sold His Soul are indisputably a band that made every effort possible to prove their salt, to prove they are a band worth paying attention to and to even hold in awe. Emerging from obvious hardcore and punk rock roots, the band has morphed into a being that deserves your attention, undivided and unremitting. Since 2007’s debut full-length, A Fragile Hope, the band threatened to unravel something truly majestic and awe-inspiring. It was with 2010’s Blessed & Cursed album that we all realised what they are capable of or even whene the band themselves realised what they were capable of. Honing in all their strengths and distilling some weaknesses, Devil Sold His Soul truly came into their own with that album.
Fast forward two years and the band find themselves at a crossroads; a crossroads entitled Empire of Light. Devil Sold His Soul’s music is one wrought with raw emotion so much so that each song is a lesson in cathartic release. The ambient washes over the band’s melodic hardcore always feels unhinged and every mellow, serene passage is simply awaiting the next burst of cathartic passion.
Lead single ‘No Remorse, No Regrets’ is a strong indication of where this album is going and as an album opener, serves as a perfect introduction. It follows something of a predictable formula with metalcore verses giving way to a clean melodic close but is followed by some of DSHS’s finest song writing to date. ‘A New Legacy’ is one of the band’s most melodic, and shamelessly catchy tunes but is also ridden with an unavoidably affecting dose of poignancy. The post rock elements of the band have only augmented too, whether it’s in the sky-high guitars of ‘Time and Pressure’, which loosely recall Pg.Lost, or the sleek ambient atmospheres of ‘Salvation Lies Within’.
‘The Waves and the Seas’ is a deafening lesson in atmospherics as lush keyboards swan in initially, only to be disrupted by another chaotic bout of riffage that segues to a heart-stopping gang vocal-led crescendo. Then there’s the seven minute ‘Crusader’ that swells in intensity and bursts fearlessly into an astounding pinnacle.
Final track, ‘End of Days’ is a glorious summation of everything Devil Sold His Soul are. The sprawling nine minute composition soars past towering peaks and plunges us daringly into overwhelming troughs. Devil Sold His Soul have crafted a monumental album, one most of us knew too well that they were capable of at some point.