Bible of the Devil
For the Love of Thugs and Fools
posted on 6/2012 By:
Of the four previous Bible Of The Devil offerings reviewed on this site, none scored below an 8. Those high scores were deserved, because those records were fun as hell; they were raucous rock’n’roll romps through everything booze-soaked metal was supposed to be, fist-in-the-air heavy damn metal with soaring guitars and infectious melodies absolutely begging to be screamed at head-banging volume while the beer flows free. Bible Of The Devil is an all-night hard rock party in one band, the kind of party where you run through your record collection, from Motorhead to AC/DC to Kiss and all points in between, singing along and air guitaring whilst spilling booze from the Solo cup or the bottle in your hand.
But the thing about parties is that, eventually, they start to wind down.
Coming off the high of 2008’s Freedom Metal, Bible Of The Devil was admittedly left with little room to advance toward any further perfection of their craft – they’d pretty much honed to a point their blend of Thin Lizzy-quoting harmonized guitar leads, metallic drive, blues-rock swagger and arena-rock spirit. That record expertly encapsulated the band’s sound and soul, and it’s undoubtedly a hard one to live up to, but I must admit I was hoping for something that at least equaled it. So the fact that For The Love Of Thugs And Fools fails to out-shine its brother isn’t entirely unexpected, but the fact that it feels flat and falls short of any of the Bible’s earlier passages is still a bummer.
Stylistically, Thugs is no different – the blend of influences detailed above stands, and there’s nothing on hand that steps outside the band’s comfort zone. But with Bible, the sound and the style are constant. To evaluate the subtleties in their catalog, everything comes down to production, as well as to songs and energy – Freedom Metal has the latter two in spades; of the songs and energy tandem, Thugs & Fools has bits of both, more of the former than the latter, but not enough of the former to overcome the lack of the latter. Simply put, the band seems tired, like they’ve been rocking for a decade and they’re on auto-pilot here. Now, Bible on auto-pilot can still rock pretty solid, I’ll admit, but Bible being Bible can rock so much harder, and therein lies Thugs’ only true failure: It just doesn’t quite rock like Bible rocks when Bible rocks like Bible rocks. Not helping matters is the fact that, on the production front, the mix is muddy -- nothing is sharp, nothing punches quite right. The drums sound stunted and distant; the guitars lack the necessary bottom end, though they fare better than the other instruments; the bass is rounded, often indistinct.
The album opener “Sexual Overture / While You Were Away” is a fun enough rocker, but it drops into a trilogy of decent but interchangeable uptempo blooze-rawk numbers before the slinky “I Know What Is Right (In The Night)” emerges. Sporting a melodic riff (doubled and hammered home by the vocal melody) and a boozy sax solo, that track stands as one of Thugs’ best. The verses on “Anytime” are borrowed straight from the Phil Lynott handbook, but they’re all but wasted on a chorus that doesn’t uphold their promise, and “Yer Boy” attempts to further recreate the magic of Freedom’s “Ol Girl,” once again by invoking Thin Lizzy. (“Boy” even goes so far as to over-use the line “When will yer boy get back into town.”) The album winds down with “Night Street,” another of its better tunes, but like all that precede it, it’s one that fails to recapture the spirit of the band dialed up to eleven just a few years ago.
For The Love Of Thugs & Fools is a listenable effort mired in a regrettably weak production, and between the sound and the lack of truly transcendent tuneage, it fails to catch fire. There are a few select moments that come together nicely, but in the long run, the shortcomings overcome the band's signature spirit, and Thugs feels lifeless and underwhelming. Bible Of The Devil can do better than this, and we all know it. Here’s hoping this crack in the party is just a lull in the action while someone restocks the fridge and it’s not quite yet time to go home…
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