Friday, June 1, 2012
Bible of the Devil - For the Love of Thugs and Fools
I got a strange relationship with Bible of the Devil. I remember the first time I feasted my ears on the guitar delicacy that was Freedom Metal. I was visiting family in Austin for the Christmas holiday and brought it up on my iPod while I was working out one day. That was it. I ran back to my sister-in-law's house, dashed to my computer and hastily etched out a change to my already-completed, about-to-be-published "Best of 2010" list. One listen was all it took. One listen for me to know that that album needed to be there. I didn't even get around to reviewing it for another month or so. Didn't matter. Freedom Metal was one of my favorite albums of 2010.
Since then, I've kept up with the band's releases and was ready when For the Love of Thugs and Fools found it's way to my computer. Most importantly, I knew what I expected from the boys; big songs, huge, soaring dual harmony guitar work, straight ahead metal.
They didn't disappoint.
For the Love of Thugs and Fools picks up right where Freedom Metal left off. This is classic metal of the type that reigned supreme in the 70's and early 80's. Thin Lizzy is one obvious starting point, as are bands like KISS and most of the NWOBHM. Vocals are gargled in a roughened Paul Stanley tone. Guitar lines are fed to us like baited hooks ready to snag and capture. Harmony twin leads twist and snarl like vines hanging down from a jungle canopy.
And it's all perfectly done.
Without overstating it, the hallmark of the band is the incredible dual lead harmony guitars, not done with this much panache and mouth-watering results since Thin Lizzy themselves. This is a guitar album of the first order, with licks flying off faster than water flying from a quickly spinning top. A lead here, a riff there. Perfect.
Now, I do have one problem with the band. The name. Bible of the Devil conjures up a billion images of pentagrams, and bloody goatheads. Satanic lyrics and worshippers in black robes. It does nothing to prepare you for sax solo in "I Know What is Right in the Night" or the catchy sing-along vocal tic of "Raw and Order." It doesn't prepare you the classic 70's retro-metal of "The Parcher" or the complete Lizzy-ism-Johnny the Fox boogie of "Anytime." It doesn't prepare you for the best KISS song written in the last 30 years, "Can't Turn off the Sun."
I hate that name. This ain't no devil band. This ain't no black metal. This isn't even metal in the current use of the term, like Arch Enemy or Slayer. This is rock music baby, pure and free and unadulterated and proud. For the Love of Thugs and Fools is just about the best pure retro-metal album you're gonna hear this year. I just can't help but think that the name turns too many people away, because, really, anybody who loves the flying guitar licks of classic metal should be listening to these guys.
And you should be too.