Hailing from Washington, DC, powerhouse rock trio Devils Walk as Saints have followed up on their 2011 EP release with a full-length 11-track record. This City Will Burn, (self-released in October of 2013) was primarily recorded at Inner Ear Studios with some additional recording at Bastille Studio. Following in the footsteps of other artists such as Fugazi and John Frusciante who also recorded an Inner Ear Studios in Arlington, VA, Devils Walk as Saints aim to make with big with an east coast and Midwest tour lined up this spring. TJ Lipple engineered, mixed, and mastered the record.
The first track sets a concept tone for the album in its repeated lines of “this city will burn until our lives return.” The fiery lyrics, accompanied by heavy bass, drum fills and pure guitar riffs set up a powerhouse 70’s/90’s rock album. Make sure you check out the killer bass solo in the first track. There’s excellent compositional balance throughout the whole album, each instrument is featured at time and balanced throughout.
The well-titled “Haunting” starts off with a driving drumbeat that introduces the whispery talk style vocals. The vocals pick up into a more Nickelback vocal style into the haunting existential words of “there’s no ever after / when there’s haunting again and again.” Followed by an anticipatory pause lead in to a rock ‘n roll guitar solo this track levels out the dark lyrics with heavy energy.
Be sure to listen to “Original,” my favorite track on the record. It’s the most compositionally complex with several varying transitions and a full range of timbres. The track showcases Zaidain’s guitar expertise between the grungy picking intro, the acoustic style breakdown around the 3:00 minute mark, and pure tone Red Hot Chili Pepper solo. “Original” is an especially 90’s rock grunge rock song, somewhere between Nirvana and Nickleback with Frusciante’s skill and Pink Floyd’s woe thrown in.
Many of the tracks on This City Will Burn return to the concept of existentialism, death, and the non-afterlife. “Left to Fade” narrates a journey to the underground, “I went down to the underground / to find some peace of mind” suggests hell as a peaceful reprieve from life. However, it follows up with “we may never be here again” to remind the listener that death is just death, and no fiery afterlife. The fire has to take place in the living city, as the album title declares “This City Will Burn.”
All you east coasters and Midwesterners out there, catch them on tour this spring. Hopefully they’ll come through the west coast soon after! Especially listen to “Original,” “This City Will Burn,” and “Left to Fade.”
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