Dublin cries out for The Devil's Blood.
The 18th of February 2012, marked the arrival of psychedelic, occult-rockers the Devil’s Blood who descended upon the intimate confines of Dublin’s underground music venue—the Pint. As a venue, the Pint is a claustrophobic, coffin-shaped sanctuary; ideal for this form of ceremonial expression. Even though the venue was not at full capacity, it still embraced a respectable number of devotees who were feverishly awaiting their first live experience of the Devil’s Blood.
As the intro-tape rolled, through an overwhelming haze of sweet incense; a collective image of blood, flesh and leather nonchalantly emerged onstage. The Devil’s Blood without delay, commenced with the sublime “On the Wings of Gloria” from their expansive record The Thousandfold Epicentre; which they are currently promoting. “Gloria” provided a perfect opener with its bombastic crescendos and slithering Rolling Stones riffs, inventively layered on record by multi-instrumentalist/orchestrator Selim Lamouchi. His attention to detail and commitment to the intricacies of a triple guitar-attack and counterpoint, rhythmic bounce was not lost in a live setting. Some credit for this must be given to the sound-desk, who had the unenviable job of managing the weight of the band’s sinuous harmonies, which create the perfect wave for vocalist, F’s dulcet tones to ride upon.
Beginning with a relatively new track, the Devil’s Blood displayed a fierce confidence in their new material which persisted throughout the entire gig; and rightfully so. A deft balance was achieved by blending the more archaic tracks from their cult classic EP, Come Reap, such as rampant live versions “River of Gold” and “The Heavens Cry Out for the Devil’s Blood”, with the more involved and labyrinthine “The Madness of Serpents” and the title track from The Thousandfold Epicentre. Maybe it was a matter of time constraints, but only three tracks from debut full-length,The Time of No Time Evermore were chosen. The anthemic “I’ll Be Your Ghost”, being a noticeably unfortunate omission in an otherwise measured set-list.
A much talked about focal point of the Devil’s Blood is F’s richly textured vocals. Throughout the night she impressively hit the necessary vocal peaks with an eerie repose and the lows with just as much ease; constantly competing with the instrumentation and almost always winning. However, it’s her stage presence that brings a unique atmosphere to proceedings especially on the possessed performance of the cyclic “Voodoo Dust”. F’s stage demeanour is that of a temptress, luring the listener with otherworldly vocal-lines and impassioned hand gestures and when she is not called upon from below to sing; kneels in worship with her back to the audience in a trance-like state. It appeared as if she too was joining the audience in basking in the glow of the glorious instrumentation and many of crowd would have probably joined her and kneeled in reverence also. The modest crowd were in a state of constant sway and relishing the opportunity to allow the Devil’s Blood to wash over them, as the band swerved in and out of choice cuts such as “Come Reap”, “The Time of No Time Evermore”, and the “Barracuda”-esque stomp of “Cruel Lover”.
Climaxing the night (without a spoken word uttered), the Devil’s Blood plunged into an extended version of crowd favourite “Christ or Cocaine”, inciting cheers from those in attendance. As F exorcised her last note, she departed the stage—her ritual complete; permitting the band to once again come to the forefront to ring out the every drop of the song’s classic rock stomp. And then there was darkness.
Unfortunately for the fans in attendance, this may be the last time to see the Devil’s Blood in such close quarters. This is due to the quality of the band’s recorded material, the atmosphere of their live show and the growth in popularity of bands creating odes to the fallen one and insidiously wrapping them in classic rock song structures and pop-seasoned melodies. The black star of the Devil’s Blood can only rise from here, an infection of the mainstream beckons; bring on the apocalypse…
1. On the Wings of Gloria
2. River of Gold
3. Fire Burning
4. The Thousandfold Epicentre
5. The Time of No Time Evermore
6. Rake Your Nails Across the Firmament
7. Come Reap
8. The Heavens Cry Out For the Devil’s Blood
9. Cruel Lover
10. Die the Death
11. Voodoo Dust
12. The Madness of Serpents
13. Christ or Cocaine