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The Devils You Know

Steamhammer (2012)
Rating: 7.5/10

German horror punkers The Other (named after the 1972 horror movie of the same name presumably) started out as a Misfits cover band but quickly evolved into the German version of the band. The Devils You Know is the band’s second release for Steamhammer / SPV Records (the first being 2010’s New Blood) and is a 15-song journey through fantasy, horror and psychologically thrilling lyrical themes set to bouncy punk infused, sometimes metal and sometimes rock ’n’ roll, music that is fairly easy to pump your fist and sing along to.

For the most part, the songs here are fairly similar. It’s a very focused album and each song is primarily distinguished by its lyrics. ‘Fright Night’ is one of the album’s shining moments. It goes back and forth between a keyboard, low key verse and a punk rock, Danzig-style soaring vocal step up, before a big, anthemic rock chorus.

The more straightforward ‘Hell Is A Place On Earth’ is another solid moment, especially vocally as frontman Rod Usher takes on the persona of the Devil to deliver the lyrics. ‘Nice Day For A Funeral’ has a more metal sound to it with a nice bit of punk rock backing vocals and a circle pit worthy chorus.

The 5-minute, 24-second second ‘Ewigkeit’ is also a highlight, purely for the band taking a chance and trying to get a bit more epic. Performed in German, the song is a pretty dynamic journey in and of itself. I have no idea what they are saying but the music nearly reaches rock opera territory.

One of the best things about The Devils You Know is how well-produced it is. Everything here is crisp, clear and sharp, so when the vocals change up you really get the full effect. When the drums roll along or take a more aggressive stance, every punch is driven home. The guitars sound like buzzsaws, without sounding muddled, and when the bass gets its time to shine (like on ‘Puppet On A String’) it maintains a low rumble while clearly expressing each note. Normally, I’m not a stickler on how well something is or is not produced, but what the production does here for The Devils You Know makes it a lot more exciting and dynamic. It’s much easier for the listener to get involved in this album because they can tell what’s happening. Other bands of the genre could take a lesson from this one.

All in all, this a solid listen from start to finish if you are a horror punk fan or a fan of any kind of heavy edged variations of punk. As I stated before, the production gives this an album an edge that most albums of this kind don’t have. The songs are largely the same for the most part, but they are elevated because the nuances can actually be heard. Any fan of the Misfits, Blitzkid, The 69 Eyes, Balzac, Juicehead, or possibly even late 90s Alice Cooper will want to at least give The Devils You Know a shot.

Mark Fisher

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