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ATP! Album Review: Chiodos - Devil

Devil, the fifth studio release from post-hardcore band Chiodos, is an album with a lot to prove. As the first album in seven years with Craig Owens back in the lead singer role and Derrick Frost commanding drums again, there were a few ways that it could have played out. Firstly, it could have been Bone Palace Ballet: The Sequel and while there probably wouldn’t have been many complaints, it would have been a bore. Secondly, it could have buckled under the weight of the pressure, allowing itself to becoming a garbled mess of failed attempts to be unique while simultaneously trying to please everyone. Or, thirdly, it could do exactly as it did - rise to the challenge of the awaiting expectations and not only meet them, but blow them out of the water completely.

The opening track, ‘U.G. Introduction,’ serves as the perfect preface for an album noted by the band themselves as their “definition of Devil.” It’s sweet, alluring, and draws in listeners like any other vice found in every day life would, ending with a final note of uncertainty before blasting fans straight into the guitar laden introduction of ‘We’re Talking About Practice.’ Sinister laughter and voiceovers serve to enhance the theme of the track, setting up the backdrop for the world Chiodos has created to uncover the true devils in all of us. The aforementioned track, ‘Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now,’ and ‘Why The Munsters Matter’ will certainly cater to the older fans, hitting hard and fast and will undoubtedly send the crowd into a frenzy during the band’s live shows. These three tracks are the proverbial rabbit hole in which there is no turning back once falling through.

It isn’t until the fifth track, ‘3 AM,’ however, that we are introduced to a new side of Chiodos. Arguably a standout, it pulls back the reins a little, allowing listeners to breathe as they get a taste of just how much the band has grown. It’s also the first time on the release that we really get to hear how strong Owens‘ voice has become as he offers up a rather vulnerable piece of himself. Maybe it isn’t what Chiodos fans are used to, but it’s the perfect example of how the band is much more than they appear as they not only span a lighter genre, but command it easily.

The break doesn’t last long before the album ricochets back into the fray with the theatrical narrative on “society's idea of a perfect family,” ‘Sunny Days & Hand Grenades.’ It is shortly followed by ‘Duct Tape,’ the devilishly inviting track from the side of the tempter and ‘Behvis Bullock’ goes hand in hand with the previously mentioned as an answer to what happens when one gives in and follows the vice “into the dark.”

Devil continues through the path of fighting every day sins until the second to last track. After the dark and twisting journey that is the rest of the album, ‘Under Your Halo’ offers listeners a light at the end of the tunnel. Like the subject matter-- the “angel” that offers respite and strength from temptations-- it is filled with hope and the love previously being sought after in ‘3 AM.’

Closing out with the nine minute epic, ‘I Am Everything That’s Normal,’ Devil ends in an apology and a promise. “You helped me with all of my dreams, because of you, I swear I’m different now,” is the last line of the song before it fades into dissonant piano and radio static. It’s powerful, it’s meaningful, and most of all, it’s the perfect ending to what this reviewer is regarding a perfect release.

Devil may not always be for the faint of heart, but it is certainly an auditory treat that showcases the growth of this band in the most delightful way. This is both the same Chiodos that old fans know and love while also bringing a new sound to their music that makes it accessible to new fans. The maturity in the use of different genres, instrumentation and even lyrical content is testament to just where the band has been and where exactly it is going, which is straight to the top.


Victoria Patneaude

Devil is out April 1st via Razor & Tie.

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