Devil Master – “Satan Spits On Children Of Light” (Relapse Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Raw, twisted black metal punk mayhem from Philly! Formed in 2016 and featuring Integrity’s Francis Kano on guitar, Devil Master certainly live up to their name on this fiery debut, but equally show great measure in demonstrating their wider talents of incorporating doom, suave goth melodies and even some punk rock n roll to make the 13 tracks here stand out even more than being the lava bombs that they are. Influenced by Zouo, a Japanese hardcore band from the ‘80s who used satanic imagery, Devil Master also make it a point to dwell on the dark one in their music but also extend it well into their personal lives (Kano having inverted his surname from O’Kane in homage to the vampire Abhartach) and philosophies of doing whatever the hell they want – all the time. As such Devil Master’s music is reflective of this with no inhibitions and little regard for genre boundaries or taboos. From Max’s visceral screams and haunting drawls influenced by Dead (Mayhem, Morbid), the true horror has been brought to life brilliantly here in the sound by Arthur Rizk (Mammoth Grinder, Black Twilight Circle, Power Trip). As the thudding toms hit and Cassidy’s bass starts to rumble, its the effects of the massive chorus pedal resonating heartfelt melodies through the maelstrom that make ‘Christ’s Last Hiss’ sink into your soul, offset brilliantly by Sabbathy warbling, rock n roll breaks and of course, Max’s dry, evil rasps. On ‘Skeleton Hand’ the initially slow horror of wailing guitars morphs into a catchy but menacing black n roll groove topped off once again by those cool chorus pedal guitars as Max vampyrically implores you to ‘…take my hand…’ before savagely exploding into ferocious hardcore blast beating to end it all – wow! Proving just how well Devil Master can combine catchy melodies with black metal menace is ‘Gaunt Immorality’, a song resplendent with ample amounts of both including Max’s tortured screams in the background and a rock n roll solo blitz to cap it all off. An excellent debut that clearly reflects that nothing is true and everything is permitted!