- Release year:
- Razor & Tie
It is something that can only be considered the stuff of dreams for Chiodos fans: the return of original vocalist Craig Owens and drummer Derrick Frost, as well as a new album from a band that not long ago looked like it was finished with music for good. The road may have been hellish, and “Devil” addresses this; but the album also showcases the band finding a heaven of sorts.
Devil is the fourth, full-length album from the Michigan sextet. The band, which is named after Stephen, Charles and Edward Chiodo, makers of some over-the-top horror movies, are pros at creating tension. Like any good horror movie, Chiodos albums are packed full of dramatic sounds guaranteed to keep your heart racing, and Devil is no exception. The first song, “U.G. Introduction,” is a beautiful orchestral number dominated by Bradley Bell and his piano. The momentum is cranked up a notch as you proceed through the second number, “We’re Talking about Practice." The song starts with Owens wailing “Turn off the lights and turn me on," in that high-pitched, fluttering voice that those familiar with the band’s previous work will instantly be able to attribute to the charismatic front man.
With Devil, Chiodos has made a gutsy move in experimenting with more than just the post-hardcore they have been known for. Through this experimentation, we are given the infectiously pop-ish “Under your Halo,” and “3am,” which finds Owens singing about finding himself in a one-night stand at three in the morning and reflecting on how it is not where he thought his love-life would be. It is beautifully honest for a writer whose past lyrics have been cryptic metaphors. Yet you will still find post-hardcore songs on Devil with equally honest lyrics. Take for example, “Sunny Days and Hand Grenades,” which has one of the most uncomfortable, yet beautiful interludes I've ever heard.
In the past, Chiodos has received a lot of attention for the astounding talent of lead-guitarist Jason Hale. So when it was announced that Hale would not be returning in order to focus on finishing schooling and starting a family, many wondered how he would be replaced. Enter Thomas Erak, the visionary behind well-known post-hardcore act, The Fall of Troy. Erak sadly seems a little a silent in this album. I didn’t get a sense of the power and prowess I feel he is capable of, but he is definitely there, and this is a valiant start for the guitarist’s first release with the band.
True to its name, Devil becomes a motif on the album, showing up in a few of the songs. In an Alternative Press article, Owens stated that the “devil” of this album is "not to be confused with the muscled, red-horned man surrounded by fire. This is about the temptations of everyday life; the things that become regrets; the moments where you are forced to make a choice that will determine how it is that you look at yourself for the rest of your life. This album is my definition of Devil."
Ultimately, this album proves the truth of the lyrics of final song, “I am Everything that’s Normal:” Look at us now/ We are right back where we left off/ It’s our time to really do things right. Devil does things right and shows fans that have supported the band through hell, that heaven is close at hand.