Artist: Devilment

Album Title: Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes

Label: Nuclear Blast

Date of Release: 18 November 2016

No band that features a singer like Dani Filth can ever be considered to be normal or run-of-the-mill. Firstly there’s the voice itself, able to flit between high-pitched shrieks and more gravelly, nefarious tones. His is one of the most recognisable extreme metal voices on the planet. Then there’s the irreverent wit and the dark sarcasm that heavily permeates his lyrics. He’s a larger than life character in many senses of the phrase, something which has led over the years to a situation where people seem to love or hate the diminutive chap.

Personally, I admire Dani a lot. Firstly, anyone who chooses Suffolk as their home clearly has taste. But joking aside, as many will know, I’m a huge Cradle of Filth fan, dating back to the very early days, so his vocals have become something quite special and meaningful for me. Added to this is his song writing ability, particularly where the aforementioned lyrics are concerned. What I think is overlooked by many is his intelligent use of language and his sense of the darkly poetic. At his best, he is able to create some truly brilliant literature that takes on a life of its own within the context of the music he fronts.

So, to hear Dani Filth at the head of another band is something very welcome for me. The band in question is the Ipswich-based extreme metal band Devilment and at the centre of this review is ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’, the band’s sophomore release.

As big a name as Dani Filth is however, to refer to Devilment as his latest new band or project is plainly wrong. And so too is the temptation to focus on the enigmatic frontman at the exclusion of all else. The reason being, Devilment were a band well before Dani’s inclusion having come into being in the latter stages of 2011. Admittedly the slot behind the microphone had been difficult to fill but it was only after a personal invitation from Devilment’s founder (and now departed) Daniel Finch that Dani got involved. Naturally, Dani has made a significant mark on Devilment, making the spot very much his own, but I felt it important to get a few things straight early on in proceedings.

With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’.

Created by lead guitarist Colin Parks, bassist Nick Johnson, drummer Matt Alston and vocalist/keyboardist Lauren Francis alongside Mr Filth, ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’ might be the album that propels Devilment into the consciousness of the wider heavy metal community, including those corners where Dani’s name alone has perhaps not managed to reach. This time, I’d strongly argue that it is the music that speaks loudest and makes the biggest impact rather than any individual performances. That said, the musicians are very adept at their instruments, meaning that the output is of a very high quality.


Naturally, those familiar with Cradle of Filth will be able to pull out ingredients within the music that have been heavily influenced by them and that’s hardly surprising in many ways. From the Gothic imagery, to the bursts of faster, more extreme instrumentation, the comparisons are there to be drawn. That said, Devilment are, at their core, a very different band and should be lauded as such.

What you get is a much more immediate output, one that focuses on muscular riffs, pounding rhythms, strong melodies, massive amounts of groove and dark Goth vibes. Indeed, the opening track ‘Judas Stein’ is a five-minute distillation of just this. Killer riffs, an almighty groove and bursts of powerful melodies drive this song forward and make it a heady and thoroughly engaging beginning to the album.

‘Hitchcock Blonde’ keeps up the momentum with more in the way of chunky riffing, albeit with a slightly lighter tone to the lyrics. Whilst still dark overall, this song demonstrates the more playful, wicked side of the band. Most importantly though, it is a great song with prominent, slightly hammer-horror keys to accentuate the tone of the track.

What comes through in spades as I listen to this record, is that Devilment have taken a great stride in terms of quality and professionalism. The debut was a good listen but ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a great one. If the debut was quirky and full of rough edges, its follow-up is more honed, smoother and creates a bigger, bolder impact. It is still quirky but in a more subtle, restrained way.

Other personal favourites include ‘Entangled In Our Pride’ which is one of many tracks that features a vocal duet between Dani and Lauren Francis. However, this track catches my ear thanks to a gorgeous chorus that has one foot in melodic hard rock territory whilst being bathed in sinister Goth overtones and imagery.

‘Under The Thunder’ begins with a simple but highly effective riff that bludgeons with style. The mid-tempo stomp marches to the pulse created my bassist Nick Johnson and drummer Matt Alston, whilst Lauren Francis delivers some unsettling sounds and textures via her synth work. The moment where Dani spits ‘here we go’ prior to an increase in intensity and pace is a little cheesy but given what follows, he can be forgiven. He shrieks and howls to the sky before the track opens up into a Cradle-esque beautifully anthemic melody that I adore.


Equally compelling is ‘Full Dark, No Stars’, thanks to some strong melodies and a slight decrease in the more extreme ingredients. In fact, the voice of Lauren really shines, demonstrating her not inconsiderable vocal talents as she takes centre stage for large parts. ‘Shine On Sophie Moon’ by contrast is, in parts, the fastest and most hedonistic composition on the record, not to mention the most ambitious and varied as well. The quiet, minimalist mid-section with ubiquitous spoken-word delivery from Dani offers a welcome change of pace, allowing the atmospheres to really work their magic.

Closer ‘Hell At My Back’ is, in my opinion, the perfect way to end this highly enjoyable album. It’s every bit as urgent and vital as the opener, ripping through the speakers at a fair speed, accented by interesting modern-sounding synth sounds intermingled with the more standard Goth fare. And I love the more flamboyant lead guitar work that offers serious lashings of melody atop a blast-beat battery, joined by rich piano notes to create a truly grand and powerful conclusion to the album.

The production is one of those areas that has enhanced this record from the debut. Handled in its entirety by Scott Atkins, he has not let his friends in Devilment down. It could have been easy for him to become too close to the band to twiddle the knobs objectively but this is a landmine that has been sidestepped deftly, thus culminating in a bruising sound that does real justice to Devilment’s cacophonic tumult. I particularly enjoy listening to the record on headphones as the whole thing sounds massive and completely intoxicating.

Overall, ‘Devilment II: The Mephisto Waltzes’, is a jolly marvellous romp, full of Gothic darkness, head nodding groove and a sense of twisted and sinister fun. As far as I’m concerned, Devilment have come on leaps and bounds since their debut and are now a name that deserves attention on their own terms. If you’re looking for a Gothic metal album with genuine bite, Devilment are the band for you.

The Score of Much Metal: 8.5

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQbZ-tQycEY&w=560&h=315]

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