I’ve always been drawn to the melodic rock bands of the 80s, there’s something about the hooks and the rhythm that transports me into my own little world of pure blissful pleasure, and so, you can imagine how enthralled I became when the debut album from Devilfire dropped onto my desk for review. Due for release on 6th October, ‘Dark Manoeuvres’ is a 13 track album which seems to be inspired by the best parts of the melodic 80s rock bands and which, in turn, has me quite excited about the future of these Birmingham rockers.
Devilfire are Alex Cooper (vocals), Baz Blackett (guitar), Richard Bloomer-Davies (guitar), Davey Bennett (Bass), and Lars Wickett (drums) and they certainly know how to put together an album that holds promise. I say ‘holds promise’ because I don’t feel like the album totally blew me away in all departments. Yes, the guitar riffs are skilful and powerful, yet not over the top (which is good as no one likes a show off!), the lyrics are catchy and meaningful and are weaved beautifully alongside the melodic feel of the album but despite all this I feel that the album lacks a certain depth to it. In short, the drums seem thin and need more meat to them. I want to feel the rhythm of the bass and the deep bludgeoning boom of the drums resonating through me, yet despite cranking up the volume I was left wanting. Give the drum track more depth and you have a debut album that is ready to catapult Devilfire to the top of the ‘ones to watch’ ranks.
That aside ‘Dark Manoeuvres’ is a good album filled with songs that touch upon life lessons, hard times, and the all too familiar feelings of love, loss, and jealousy. The album kicks off with ‘Ready For War?’ which has a great pace to it and some really good lyrics that explore the need to stand up for yourself in a relationship. ‘She’s Like Fire’ is about the love that burns with intense passion but doesn’t last. ‘Come and take a lesson from me’ sings Alex, sometimes, some loves just aren’t meant to be.
‘(In and Out Of Love) All The Time’ encompasses a more bluesy style to it and it sounds really good. I really love the slightly heavier riffs and bass. ‘Waiting for a Rockstar’ is the first single release from the album and it’s an absolutely banging tune! You’d be mistaken to think it’s about a woman. Alex states that it’s a track that is a metaphor for the music industry that can eat you up and spit you out, so you’ve gotta ‘rage against the dying of the light’ and get your head screwed on properly when it comes to making your mark on the music world.
‘Lay It On The Line’ is an intensely captivating track, fiercer vocals and hooks which I really like. It’s about chasing your dreams and laying everything on the line, pursuing what you want, and not giving up, ‘Don’t stop! You’ve gotta lay it on the line’. Love it! ‘Kill Your Love’ is fast paced and catchy, firing lyrics and riffs like a machine gun!
‘Tear Me Apart’ is a ballad and it’s all about feeling a love so deep that you feel that it might actually rip you in two. Lyrically, it is beautiful and so well put together (it reminds me of the ballads from Winger and Skid Row), and it’s definitely one that will get the crowds pulling out their phones and turning on the torches, swaying to the rhythm.
Ever had one of those moments where you sit and think ‘what did I do so bad to deserve this?’, if so then ‘God Give me Vengeance’ is the song for you. Sometimes, things happen and we can’t explain why, ‘I’ve got nothing left to lose’. Ever felt that way? Yeah? Me too. For some people there’s a love that sits dormant in their heart, a love for someone that never really goes away no matter how much time passes and this one person can tempt you back time and time again. ‘Devil in your eyes’ explores that feeling alongside some heavy riffs and hard bass that thumps home the plea ‘don’t deceive me’, but we all know what happens when we ‘fall into the spell’ of a love that just won’t go away.
‘(You Gotta) Revolution’ is the almost mandatory rock song that stamps its feet at the establishment and political leaders around the world and tells the people to revolt against the powers that be, ‘You gotta fight, for what you need!’ Enough said really.
Probably my favourite track on the album is the ode-to-a-Bond-theme tune ‘She’s Always On The Run’. It’s alluring and potent, with powerful riffs and vocals that just ooze the sexiness that you would expect from a Bond themed song. ‘A Thousand Times’ is up next and I really love the changes in tempo and rhythm in this track. The song is about not living up to the lofty expectations that some people place on you and then the disappointment when realising that you’re only human, ‘I tried to tell you once, a thousand times’.
The last track ‘Somehow’ is an acoustic song that brings a raw emotional ending to the album and, despite its sparse approach, is so full of meaning. Really admire how Alex writes songs that show his true feelings, with meaningful lyrics and emotions that seem to brim over with truth and convey the lessons that he has learned in life and love. It’s refreshing to find such brutal honesty.
Don’t let a chance to catch these guys live pass you by. I can imagine that these songs will sound so much more intense in a live environment. Devilfire are headlining the O2 Academy in Birmingham on Saturday 26th August 2017.