Released: 2006, Cruz Del Sur
Potential. That’s the one word I can think of when I think of Bible of the Devil now. They have had loads and loads of potential showing on their last two albums, TIGHT EMPIRE and BRUTALITY, MAJESTY, ETERNITY but unfortunately the albums fell flat. Why? The band was missing some kind of extra hidden ingredient. I can’t say for sure what it was, but it kept the albums from rising up from being just, mediocre. 2006 sees another album from Bible of the Devil, one that I hoped would see the band capitalize on the potential I saw in them on the last two albums. This is their third, and last, chance, as far as I’m concerned to get it right.
Bible of the Devil play heavy metal, pretty straight a head but there are certainly some outside influences. I can hear some hard rock and even punk at times in the band’s sound. In some ways they remind of Zeke in that regard, as both bands seems to straddle the line between metal, rock, and punk. The attitude and feel that Bible of the Devil really exude is of a street smart rock band playing heavy metal but with a slight punk tinge. There are strong resemblances to Motorhead here and there, Thin Lizzy in the dual guitar melodies, and possibly even in, on and off touring companions, Slough Feg. Now, with all of those bands being a clear influence on the band, one would expect greatness, well, that’s not what I’ve got the last couple albums. Certainly some songs stood out as great, TIGHT EMPIRE had “Kicking Birth” and BRUTALITY, MAJESTY, ETERNITY had “Guns, Germs, Steel”, “Cocaine Years, Cocaine Tears” and “Warrior Fugue” but the rest of the songs on those albums just came off as running the middle ground.
THE DIABOLIC PROCESSION is the band’s first for label Cruz Del Sur and does sit as an improvement for the band, much like how I felt the last album was over TIGHT EMPIRE. The problem is that the band still hasn’t reached their apex and I’m starting to wonder whether it’s going to happen at all. The problem with this new album is that there are no more whole songs that stand out as great; it’s now down to sections. Each song has one, or two, great sections while the rest of the song is merely there to fill the gaps. The band is clearly made up of competent musicians, they have the right components musically to be a great band, but there’s nothing here to impress.
Opening track “Ecclesia Novorum Innocentium” starts off with a lot of fire, the band hitting a nice fast pace, the guitars chugging along with an open AC/DC like open chorus. Thing is, there’s nothing to the song, it feels empty. Sure, it impresses on the first or second listen but when you listen to this song multiple times, it becomes obvious how one dimensional and depthless the song really is. It becomes even more evident when one sees the song isn’t even over two minutes. Second track, “Sepulchre” opens up blandly. Straight rocking riffs that lead into an open, and somewhat atrocious verse. The guitars playing a riff that starts to grate on my nerves by the end of the song. The lead section at 2:25 is what makes the song at least worth checking out. Nothing impressive as far as chops, but it sounds good to my ears. The song “Orphans of Doom” is probably the closest thing to a winner THE DIABOLIC PROCESSION has. The song has an almost epic feel, opening up in a soft, restrained fashion before the band eventually let loose little by little. The verse being slightly more off kilter, the chorus taking things even further, Vocalist/Guitarist Mark Hoffman spitting out lines; attempting to fit as many syllables overtop of the riff as possible.
In “Millenialism” the riffs are generally too melodic for Mark Hoffman’s voice. His voice is rough and can carry little to no melody, he reminds me of Lemmy often, and because of this, when this slightly more melodic track doesn’t work for Hoffman. The leads here are great, some of the melodic lines being top notch; the song hitting a near perfect section at 3:13, short melodies interspersed with tiny solos. “The Judas Ships” is a complete epic track all the way. From opening acoustic sections to the slow doomy melodic riff to the at least mildly inspired chorus the song doesn’t let up. Unfortunately the track does start off rather boring, only to be picked up in time for the solos. The following build up comes in nicely and really works well into the chorus, practically saving the song.
Whenever I sit down and listen to a Bible of the Devil album, all I can think of is how they should be great. How they have all the basic elements to be a great metal band but somehow it’s all lost in this sea of mediocre song writing and execution. I don’t know what the band is missing, but whatever it is, it’s that special something that separates the greats from the rest.