It’s been a tempestuous ride over the past 17 years for Devil Sold His Soul. Their first two records, EP Darkness Prevails and full-length A Fragile Hope, saw them picking up a fevered cult following, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with before 2010’s captivatingly visceral Blessed And Cursed elevated their sound and introduced them to a wider audience.
Personal strife, namely the loss of loved ones, and shifts in personnel over the next few years would see the post-hardcore metallers in a continued state of flux, with original member Ed Gibbs departing, returning in 2017 and embarking on co-vocal duties alongside replacement Paul Green. It is, however, this tortured darkness that these Brits have drawn from in order to write the next chapter in their history, nine years after the release of their last full-length, Empire Of Light. A honest snapshot of times past, DSHS’s fourth album is appropriately titled Loss.
Cinematic in its delivery, quasi-orchestral opener Ardour unfurls amongst a plethora of ambient swells and rising keys as throat-shredding screams are tempered by soaring cleans and is followed by the beautifully introspective stomp of Witness Marks, its melodic soundscapes sitting alongside potent heaviness. Elsewhere, lead single Beyond Reach’s uplifting energy and cranium-rattling riffs are ripe for opening up the pits. A frenzied-to-the-point-of-exhausted maelstrom this ain’t, but softer moments during the album’s second half are offset by some satisfyingly enraged moments, The Narcissist’s ear-piercing cries of ‘You’re on your own!’ and Signal Fire’s initial aggression turning up the power and darkness of their sound.
Devil Sold His Soul have poured their struggles and sincerity into Loss, with each of the 10 songs justifying its place, finding new variations on an established, enjoyable formula.