Released: 2014, Indie
Periodically over the years I have written regional review spotlights on bands from my part of the world, Western Canada. It is time for another such mini-feature and this month we are looking at six bands; Device (Vancouver, BC), Kobra And The Lotus (Calgary, Alberta), Lucid Scream (Calgary, Alberta), Omega Crom (Vancouver, BC), Striker (Edmonton, Alberta) and Viathyn (Calgary, Alberta) Please enjoy all six reviews of these recent releases in this feature.
Device has been around for a few years in Vancouver but it is just now that they have released their independent, self-titled debut. They did a decent job with packaging and presentation, with a cool looking Sci-Fi type cover, which is a bit odd considering that the music on the disc housed within is so old-school. It is a basic booklet and presentation, look for the love note to their ‘friend’ David Draiman. If you know your Metal, you will get it. Vancouver’s Device was first. They should sue.
Onto the music, the Power-trio have written and recorded some of the coolest, most authentic sounding 80’s Metal I have heard in a long, long time. There are many bands out there working with an overall sonic theme of going back to the (so-called) glory days, some good, some not so good, but Device the band fall into the ‘Very Good’ category. The tone, the tempo the delivery all take me back to listening to old Banzai tapes of second and third string Metal bands like Tokyo Blade and Tyrant which are now considered classic gems.
The band has a bit of a sense of humour too, you can tell just by looking at the songs titles, ‘Am I The Iceman?, ‘The Devil And The Shoemaker’ and the oddly titled lead-off cut’ Don’t Mess with Texas’ ,which sounds like it might be more at home on a Pantera album or something. Although he may not be a classically trained singer, the vocals of Marc LeBlanc have charisma and you can understand the lyrics easily enough, even though they are not provided in the booklet. He has a decent range and some good screams on the end of ‘City Of Refuge’ and on the shorter, faster cut, ‘Enemy’s Blood’.
DEVICE is a very solid debut. These guys have really captured the essence of the era they are inspired and influenced by even down to the production. It’s not too slick, too glossy, doesn’t try to hard and doesn’t rely on lyrical or visual clichés. The performances are loose and it doesn’t sound forced like some bands. I hate to used the word ‘charming’ in a Metal review, because …well...it’s a lame thing to call a Metal band, but Damn! …I’m charmed by these guys and I mean that in a totally positive sense. Maybe it’s nostalgia because I was around for the first wave, but DEVICE is a great debut and hopefully the band will join the ranks of the signed bands like the Skullfists and Cauldrons as the elite Canadian bands in this style.