THE DEVIL RIDES OUT – “The Heart & The Crown” (Impedance Records)

Posted: June 10, 2010 in Album Review
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About 10 years ago, Perth was one of those jokes the rest of the country laughed along with. They were so far away from everything and bands touring Australia always left them out. Then something happened. Adelaide became the new Perth. How did this happen? Now touring bands are skipping Adelaide and going straight to Perth. What the? Was there a population explosion over there in the Western part of this beautiful country? Who the fuck knows, but what I do know is that I’ve been there and here’s what I think: Perth has shitloads of hot women. Yeah, that’s it. Why wouldn’t a band want to tour there? I have been there and it definitely gets a thumbs up between the skimpys and the rest of the female population that house themselves in this faraway land. Now the joke is on Adelaide. For years Adelaide punters would laugh at how Perth always missed out on shows. I know this as fact cos admittedly, I was one of them.

When the great table turning happened and Adelaide became the new Perth, I packed up and headed to Melbourne. I was tired of missing out on seeing bands I liked. I was bored with the lack of things Adelaide had to offer. And trust me, between Ashlee Adams, a giant rocking horse, a whispering wall and Balfours custard tarts, it doesn’t really offer that much. Perth, on the other hand, has a Bon Scott statue and a Bon Scott memorial (OK, they’re both in Fremantle which isn’t exactly Perth but play along with me here), they have an awesome beach life, tons of gorgeous girls (including my friend, and one time LGL editor, Josie), the Explosive Pro Wrestling federation, and a band called The Devil Rides Out. If you’ve been collecting your LGL’s, you would remember me reviewing their triple EP set in previous issues. For those not hip, let’s recap:

THE DEVIL RIDES OUT – “Volume I” (Self-Released)
The first in a 3 part series, Perth stoner rockers The Devil Rides Out, play that kind of rock made for long road trips between cities. You know the stuff; cock struttin’ high flyin’ and gear changin’ with lotsa riffs and endless nights of the MansRuin catalogue at full volume. Mix up some Honky, Alabama Thunderpussy, Trailer Hitch, Fuckemos, The Distant Crypts, etc. and you get the idea. “Volume I” dishes up 6 tracks detailing long nights of lovin’ and truck-stops with the last track, “This Is Your Life”, being the winner for me in this set. Sounding Southern but coming from Western (Australia that is), I’d be highly disappointed if none of these guys drive a truck.

THE DEVIL RIDES OUT – “Volume II” (Self-Released)
A huge step forward in sound and song structures, “Volume II” unleashes another 6 tracks in the series by these ballsy blues rock n rollers from the city of skimpys. Kickin’ things into gear with “Rock n Roll Mayhem” and keepin’ the steam roller movin’ for another 5 tracks of life on the road, livin’ large and eatin’ grease. You dig? I honestly felt the song “The Demon” was gonna rip into “Evie” at one stage. So good! I love this truck drivin’ Mans Ruin-esque stoner rock jive. Kozik would love these cats. File next to Kyuss, Rollerball, and Alabama Thunderpussy. Good shit! Even if the opening riff to “Tonight I Might” does sound extremely similar to The Datsun’s “Sittin’ Pretty”… but that doesn’t matter cos it’s all rock ‘n’ roll. Oh, and huge props to the dude whose doing the art and layout for these guys, cos these CDs look fuckin’ wild! Can’t wait to crank “Volume III”.

THE DEVIL RIDES OUT – “Volume III” (Self-Released)
I have to admit, I was eagerly awaiting the final installment of the DRO trilogy. First listens spark a new beginning for these Perth sludge rockers. Kicking off with a track that sounds like a harder edged QOTSA, the inadequately titled “Slow Gun” shows no signs of slowness as it pounds through with double kick drums and lotsa riffage. Riffs are good. Really. They are. Don’t believe me? Pfft, you’re dumb. It’s not just a typical stoner rock band and I am sure that it is all too easy to throw them into the pile with all the others but I dunno, there’s something else here that is just straight up rock and a little 70’s influenced, especially in the song “Meet Joe Blues”. Cruisin’ music for muscle car owners and beach heads. I find a striking resemblance to Alabama Thunderpussy and ex-Kyuss frontman’s Unida, but still, it’s just hard rockin’ music for people whose business is rockin’ and worshipping Ronnie Van Zant. Again, the cover art is spectacular and if you own all 3, you can put ‘em along in a line and see the long leggy babe that adorns their covers. Nice! Lookin’ forward to a full length.

And a full length is what arrived on my doorstep today. The Devil Rides Out have a full length debut album called “The Heart & The Crown” (Impedance Records). I was pretty wrapped when it arrived so throwing it in the CD player took only a matter of seconds. In fact, I think the only thing that was quicker of recent times was the arrival of the latest Hard-Ons album (but that’s The Hard-Ons so that’s totally understandable being that they are the greatest Australian band of all time… besides AC/DC… but that goes without saying).

The first thing one will notice upon first listen is the heightened sound and production. It’s not as raw as the EP trilogy but what it lacks in rawness it makes up for it with its full-steam ahead rock power, fine tuned fuzztoned riffs and dare I say it, maturity. Kickin’ off with a rumbler titled “Watch It Burn”, which could have been written about that time when some friends of mine set a pizza box on fire and then Travis kicked the flames and some of the burning box flew up and burnt his neck, you are pretty sure what you’re gonna get yourself into here. A heavy rockin’ sludgey fuzz truck drivin’ soundtrack. And whilst this album’s cover art doesn’t parade a Kenworth or a Mack, it did make me wanna put a gun rack in my Hyundai. I think that’d go well with the leopard print seat covers. ANYWAY, the album flows through with power, blues and swagger. “Hard Love” sounds like a lost ZZ Top gem, if ZZ Top had gruffy vocals and a big muff pedal while “Right Hand Man” reminds me of the Desert Sessions Volume 2. This is good. Why? Cos I like that stuff. Simple, really.

I did find the slower numbers on the album a little bit on the dragging side (“Phosphorous” and the title track, for example) but hey, I was listening to the Napalm Death Peel Sessions before I cranked this up so maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Regardless, to a rivethead stoner, these slower numbers could be exactly what they’re looking for when they spark up their next hit and say “wig out man!” Hey, I know people who do exactly that. True story. I was indeed rockin’ bigtime when “Inheritance” took off with its punchy drums and groovy guitarin’. And groovy guitars is what this album is full of. I really like the groove in the album’s finale, “Lost Town”. The video for this should have hot chicks in denim shorts and halter tops playing pinball and showin’ some darktown struttin’ in Vegas or something. “The Heart & The Crown” is full of groovin’ riffs aplenty which is never a bad thing. There should always be more riffs. And even when you think you have John Zorn’s Naked City beat in the riff department, you could always use more. That’s the rules. Simple as that.

Whilst I don’t think this is the band’s ‘Back in Black’, I do think it’s a solid release and they’re well on their way to getting one down on tape. Truthfully, I would love someone like Dave Wyndorf to come in and produce these guys. Why? Cos Dave’s a genius and I think he could elevate this band to the next level. The level that very few get to cos it’s usually reserved for bands like Motorhead and The Wildhearts. Not that I am any sort of authority on music or anything but I think this band have what it takes to be there, now they just need that little something to put them there and Dave’s that ‘something’. Just sayin’.

The Devil Rides Out are heading out on tour in support of their new album. You can catch them at these dates:

Saturday June 12th – Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
with Brutus, Chainsaw Hookers and Blazin’ Entrails

Friday June 18th – Birmingham Hotel, Fitzroy, Melbourne VIC
with My Left Boot

Saturday June 19th – The Lyre Bird Lounge, Ripponlea, Melbourne VIC
with Bitter Sweet Kicks

Sunday June 20th – The National Hotel, Geelong VIC
with Dread

Wednesday June 23rd – The Harp, Wollongong NSW
with The Watt Riot and Buzzard

Thursday June 24th – The Sando, Newtown, Sydney NSW
with Buzzard, Boxing With Ghosts and The Solid Gold Bastards

Friday June 25th – The Tatts, Lismore NSW
with The Smokestack Orchestra, Stone Mountain and Booze Hag

Saturday June 26th – Club Envy, Maroochydore QLD
with The Smokestack Orchestra, New Jack Rubys and Unofficial

Sunday June 27th – The Troubadour, Brisbane QLD
with The Smokestack Orchestra and New Jack Rubys

The Devil Rides Out on Myspace.
The Devil Rides Out on Facebook.
Impedance Records.

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