Friday, September 12, 2008

Chicago Freedom!

BIBLE OF THE DEVIL – “Freedom Metal” CD ’08 (Cruz Del Sur, US) – I’m beginning to understand the dilemma of having been a music writer in the hey-day of the ‘70’s. Bands like Sabbath, Lizzy, Priest, Wishbone Ash & Purple were putting out one bona fide classic after another. I mean, think about it…somebody like Sabbath puts out the first album, “Paranoid,” “Master Of Reality,” “Vol. 4.” By the time you get to “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,” how many superlatives do you still have up your sleeve? You’re going to need to do some vocabulary gymnastics that would have Nadia Comaneci slack-jawed just to keep from repeating yourself when under stress-I repeat myself when under stress – I repeat myself when under stress – I repeat… Ok, I’m ok now. I’ve had the Demerol and the morphine & there’s an empty bottle of Jack on the table. Nikki Sixx is standing in front of me in a paramedic outfit, so I know I’m alright, but you see my issue. Even though my mind has been set at ease by Jack Bauer administering a pharmaceutical package, I’m not sure of my next move. For see, even though it’s in small part representative of the daunting task faced by those early writers, Chicago’s BIBLE OF THE DEVIL has put me behind the 8-ball. It’s nasty trick by those dastardly White Sox fans! First “Firewater At My Command.” Then “Tight Empire,” “Brutality Majesty Eternity” and “The Diabolic Procession.” They peppered in a few raging 7-inchers as well, and now have foisted upon me the brand new “Freedom Metal.” I sit in front of the stereo, eyes sunken into my head, ears ripped to bloody raw stumps and my thesaurus in flames, burning to ash before my very eyes as I attempt to explain how, once again, this band has raised their own seemingly impossible bar. So, having spent the last 46 minutes being beaten to death by a non-stop barrage of Flying V riff detonations, impassioned vocals telling tales of everything from highly personal to epic tales and harmony guitar leads that would have Robbo & Gorham saying “What the fuck?!” I’ll pull myself up by the bootstraps and do this. I’ll tell you that, as is their practice, a practice that mirrors the greatest bands ever, they have not tried to turn the world on it’s ass. They have taken what they do so well, create absolute top-drawer heavy metal songs that are super-catchy, monstrously executed and...contain TONS OF FUCKING GUITAR SOLOS! It also doesn’t hurt that each time around, these boys (Mark Hoffmann – lead guitar, lead vox; Nate Perry – lead guitar, vox; Darren Amaya – bass; Greg Spalding – drums) just keep making the songs more interesting. While ‘06’s “…Diabolic…” was a definite concept piece, this one is simply a collection of metal/big rawk for the ages. I mean, first song, you’ve got the 7+ minute “Hijack The Night.” Boom, instant classic. Talk about a chorus you’ll be humming, Jesus Christ, and the leads in this?!?! Hoffmann & Perry are going to be nursing the friction burns off those babies for the next year. Just listen to the variety in the next several songs: the crunching riff-machine of “Night Oath,” the interesting melodies in “Turning Stone,” the unique musical & lyrical bent of “Womanizer.” And then, the album really starts getting interesting. “Heat Feeler” may honestly be BOTD’s greatest song thusfar. Try to even describe the opening couple minutes of this! The striking clean guitar joins the insistent rhythm in what I can only begin to imagine being the results of Van Morrison joining early Nazareth at the pub. Then, fire up the distortion pedals for what might be the riff of the year! With “Ol’ Girl,” the BIBLE boys have come up with the best song that Thin Lizzy never wrote. What a nice vocal performance from Hoffmann here, showing a side quite a bit removed from his more usual metal-man howl. The guitar solos and harmony work here is simply to die for, it brings a tear to my eye…reminding me once again that I really do need to sell my axes. The record then ends with the twin bludgeon of “Greek Fire” and “500 More,” a duo of epic, harmony-laced metallic pillars that should probably be the cornerstones to the soundtrack of an as-yet-unmade classic battle film. There it is, I’m spent. My ears are gone, my brain is toast and the thesaurus has completely imploded like a devastated neutron star. A couple years ago, I implied that BOTD had achieved their “Stained Class” with “The Diabolic Procession.” This is the album that may, years from now, have another band achieving their “Freedom Metal.” Godly. 10.0

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