ALBUM REVIEW: Devilskin – ‘RED’

Words by Tracey Moyle – The Music Maven

Kiwi hard rockers Devilskin release their third studio album ‘RED’ on 3 April to the anticipation of thousands of fans already familiar with the raw intensity this band express through their music.

The band have declared – ‘RED is the universal colour of passion, vitality, blood, danger, romance, anger, horror and love; everything evocative.’   The depth and emotion behind the songs on this album capture all of these things and more bringing us their most emotionally charged album yet.

With the massive response for their four singles released to date; Endo, All Fall Down, recent stunner Corrode and latest, Everybody’s High But Me, dropping on digital platforms in the last week, it’s not hard to see why the fans have reminders set for this albums release date.

Do You See Birds opens with startling ferocity with front woman Jennie Skulander’s vocals kicking you wide awake from the start.  The song is ironically about being locked away unable to get out to the world you can see outside your window, written a long time before the current global crisis. Skulander’s merciless growls and operatic highs are met with rapid fire drumming, booming bass and powerful riffs.  This opener may have been the last track chosen to go on the album but it sure as hell gives the listener a full metal welcome to ‘RED’.

The second single released back in 2019 All Fall Down has Skulander flaunting her amazing vocal range with guitars hammering from Nail Vincent and Paul Martin, this song builds a desperate plea to wake up and look at a possible grim future and the decline of society as we know it, driven by the lies we are fed by the machines taking over our lives.

The overwhelming fan response received for the next track, third single from the album, Corrode, speaks for itself.   The portrayal of vocal angst Skulander exudes has you feeling every word.  Urging the listener to rise up from being completely overwhelmed by whatever is corroding away your soul and ask for help.   A song with a message, that couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time.  “All I need is a little help, these stains they don’t wash out. It’s piling up in me more and more.” Skulander’s ability to express the desperation through song is held up by the urgency in Nic Martin’s dominant drumming throughout. 

Eyes Red Heavy almost follows on from Corrode, blasting heavy riffs through the pleading chorus, finding balance with a steady beat and a flow of emotion from our metal songstress.  “Trying to improve myself, for something that is not myself.  All these feelings that overwhelmed. Overwhelmed”  The power in the vocal is stripped back with raw energy, with a final desperate plea and a haunting acoustic outro drawing the song to an eerie close.

Track five Same Life opens with a great bass riff, taking us into catchy hooks with steady drumming controlling the pace.  Balancing snarling vocals and guttural growls with a beautifully melodic rock tone is Skulander’s skill, building and falling at all the right intervals.  

Speaking recently with Paul Martin about the album, the sombre meaning behind next track, The Victor, gives this song it’s own consciousness. Skulander’s silken vocal draws you in and carries you away but its the meaning behind the lyrics that gives it depth.  Written as a cathartic outlet, lead guitarist Martin, wrote this song breathing life into the bands emotions after they were first on scene at a horrific car accident.  Not knowing if the family would survive, he wrote the words through the eyes of the child involved and everyone’s feelings of despair but still knowing they were there to help.  Giving life to desperate emotion is the greatest gift both to and from musicians and this song is a brilliant portrayal of that.  The empathy is brought to life by the lead songstress with her vocal control taking the listener from a heavy ferocity to a soothing melodic resonance portraying the barrage of emotions behind the lyrics.   (Thankfully the family survived the ordeal.)

Blood & Bone brings us in low and heavy with a feeling of foreboding, creating a classic heavy rock energy with this track.  A song about being humbled and stood before the moonlight and nature, guitars build an ominous mood with heavily loaded riffs telling a tale on their own.

The albums first single Endo released in 2018 is an personal one for the bands charismatic lead.   An anthem for women around the world living with the condition Endometriosis, this song reaches out to those who understand the torment of this affliction.   Lyrically you can apply this story to whatever is crippling you, and with Skulander bearing her soul in this one the highs and lows in this track mirror the affliction itself perfectly. 

Bright Lights peels back the heaviness to bring forward a strong rock track with Jennie’s heart pouring out through her vocals.  With a brighter tone “It’s time to let these bright lights carry me home.”  This song gives the feeling of an endless journey, a feeling of being homesick.  A common feeling amongst artists, I can only imagine.

Sweet Release is another heartfelt song lyrically and musically.  Telling a tale of a young life unnecessarily lost in their hometown and the family involved still fighting the mental health system for much needed changes.  Again guitarist Martin, pours his heart out through his words, following this story over many years.  He tells the story in our chat about ‘RED’ on the Good Call Live website HERE.   The song again showcases Skulander’s abily to capture any moment.  It aptly ends with a haunting piano outro.

Be Like The River, has a smooth rock feel with a hint of blues running through it’s underbelly.   There’s a distinctive and powerful bluesy vocal from Skulander; is there anything this woman can’t sing?   Carrying the same name as their 2016 album, it may have missed the cut that time but luckily it’s had the breath of life pumped into it for this album.

Listen To Everybody’s High But Me on Spotify HERE

Dropping a few days ago was the fourth single from the album Everybody’s High But Me. It may be the shortest track on the album but doesn’t lack any energy, with Martin and Vincent taking us on an electric barrage and Nic Martin belting us back into high voltage mode.  This high energy track is a great way to finish off, book-ending this album with amazing songs that scream to the world of Rock music – Devilskin are a force to be reckoned with.

RED’ will available on Red and Black Vinyl and digitally from April 3rd

Pre-order your copy HERE

iTunes Pre-sale link HERE

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