Independent hard rock band Devilskin is officially ready to break into the mainstream. Given the right support, this Kiwi quartet could easily become one of the next big names in the hard rock community. That is proven through the group’s brand new album Red, which offers audiences quite a bit to appreciate from its musical and lyrical content. That is proven in part late in the album’s 48-minute run in the form of ‘Be Like the River,’ which will be discussed shortly. ‘All Fall Down,’ which comes early in the record’s 12-song run, is another way in which the record proves its strength. It will be addressed a little later. ‘The Victor’ is an unexpected but welcome way in which the album shows its strength, too. Together with ‘All Fall Down,’ ‘Be Like The River’ and the rest of the album’s songs, the record in whole proves itself to be worthy of being called one of this year’s top new independent albums.
Devilskin’s new album Red is a strong new offering from the independent hard rock outfit. That is thanks to musical arrangements that will reach a wide range of hard rock and metal fans and lyrical themes that will reach just as many listeners if not more. One of the most notable of the album’s songs comes late in the record’s run in the form of ‘Be Like the River.’ This song’s straight forward southern sludge rock sound immediately lends itself to comparisons to the best works of Clutch, Corrosion of Conformity and Texas Hippie Coalition. That is obvious in the sound from the combination of the song’s guitars and singer Jenny Skulander’s vocal delivery. The result of those elements (and the solid time keeping and bass) is a work that will instantly grab listeners and keep them engaged and entertained right through the end of its four-minute, 15-second run time. The heaviness and bite in the song’s arrangement is also notable because of how well it accompanies the song’s lyrical theme, which is clearly an encouragement to everyone to never give up.
The noted theme is presented right from the song’s outset as Skulander sings, “Be like the river and cut through the stone/Fight like a lion defending his home/Be like the river and cut through the bone/Never afraid that you’re ever alone/Be like the river when your soul is free/Your body will follow the flow of the stream/Be like the river when these times are hard/And gather yourself in these times we’re apart/Beneath the veneer/They get close to the nerve/And the layers of lies/And the filth they deserve/beneath the veneer, they get under the skin/And the layers of lies/And the b****** they keep within.” She continues in the song’s second verse, “Be like the river and the stars up in space/We’re touched by the beauty/And we’re touched by the grace/Be like the river and flow from the stream/And one day you’ll be a part of the sea.” This is all very positive. In a time when there is so much adversity around the world for a variety of reasons, a song, such as this, with its heavy music and its encouraging lyrical content is welcome and so needed. It is just one of the songs that stands out in the bigger picture of Red. ‘All Fall Down,’ which comes early in the album’s run, is another key addition to the album.
‘All Fall Down’ presents a musical arrangement that is distinctly different from that of ‘Be Like The River.’ Whereas ‘Be Like The River’ boasted a clear southern sludge rock sound, ‘All Fall Down’ presents a more modern hard rock tinge in its arrangement. Its sound is easily likened to music from Halestorm. The fire in the song’s musical arrangement plays well into the song’s seeming social commentary in its lyrical theme.
The seeming social commentary is inferred as Skulander sings in the song’s lead verse, “Fear will make you follow/Today into tomorrow/Pride too hard to swallow/Your heart and soul are hollow/Life’s a deadly game/Again, again, again, again/And now you play the sacrifice/Another life for Jesus Christ/We all fall down.” She continues in the song’s second verse, “Where the hell’s the help/We need to break the spell/Release us from ourselves/And give us truth to tell.” She adds in the song’s final line, “Tide is quickly drowning and we’re all about to drown/To a man we make a stand/And then we all fall down.” It should be noted here that yes, Jesus Christ is mentioned here, but that does not mean this is an anti-religious statement, specifically. Rather, it is more a commentary encouraging people just to think for themselves. That is made clear as Skulander notes in both of the song’s verses, and even the chorus. Any time people are encouraged to not become sheep, and to think for themselves, that is a good thing. To that end, that statement, coupled with the song’s unique musical arrangement makes the song in whole another clear strong point from Red. It is just one more of the album’s most notable works. ‘The Victor’ is yet another key addition to the album.
‘The Victor’ is a very interesting song as its musical arrangement stands out just as much from the other songs noted here as they do from one another and from the rest of the album’s works. This is another modern rock song arrangement, and while it boasts similarities to certain other acts, its arrangement, which is founded this time by Skulander’s vocal delivery, it still boasts its own identity apart from those songs and from the other songs featured in this record. The guitars, bass and drums build on that foundation formed by Skulander’s vocals, fleshing out the song even more. The approach taken, with its upbeat vibe, works well with the song’s lyrical content, which is intriguing in its own right.
The lyrical theme in this song is interesting. It comes across as its own positive, uplifting piece, this time perhaps focusing on someone who has been through some kind of tragedy, only to be comforted by someone who responded to said tragedy. This is inferred as Skulander sings in the song’s lead verse, “You hurt too much to understand/An instant and your life has changed/I whisper words to soothe your pain/A stranger’s arms to hold you now/An instant and your life has changed/I whisper words to soothe your pain.” She continues in the song’s chorus, “And it’s so obvious that you’re so scared/You’re hurt too much to understand/’Cause I’m still here/You’re hanging on my every word/Broken, bleeding in the dirt/And you’re still there/Holding tight with all you’ve got/Clinging on to life and hope.” Going back through this, that seeming message would seem to hold water. It becomes even more possibly the case as Skulander sings in the song’s second verse, “Glass like diamonds on the road/An instant changes everything/I whisper words to soothe your pain/I hold your hand/I won’t let go/Brave as you could ever be/Hold on now and trust in me.” It can be inferred at this point that maybe the inferred tragedy was perhaps a motor vehicle collision. From here, the song returns to its chorus once again before adding in the final lines, “Heart to heart/We’re only human/Take my hand and we’ll get through this.” That last line gives the song even more of a positive point. It is as if that person is comforting the victim, reminding that person that it will be possible to get through the worst. It is obviously a distinctly different matter from that presented in the record’s other songs. When it is coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, the two elements together make the song in whole stand strong on its own merits and prove once more why the album in whole is well worth hearing. That is proven even more when the song is considered alongside the rest of the album’s songs. All things considered, they make Red one of this year’s top new independent albums.
Devilskin’s new album Red is a production that definitely is anything but cursed. Rather, it is a strong new offering from the band that with the right support, could be the start of the band’s rise to fame domestically. That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical and musical content. All three of the songs addressed here support that statement. The same can be said of the album’s other works, too. All things considered, they make Red a work that could be a bright green light for Devilskin’s rise to fame. Red is available now. More information on Red is available online along with all of Devilskin’s latest news is available online at:
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