Devil review by Chiodos

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  • Released: Apr 1, 2014
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 6.2 (17 votes)
Chiodos: Devil

Sound — 8
It was a very rocky time several years ago when Chiodos announced they had parted ways (probably more along the lines of "kicked out") with their original frontman Craig Owens, and fans were unsure if the post-hardcore band would be releasing anything. Fortunately for them, the band would go on to release their third album, "Illuminaudio," with their second frontman, Brandon Bolmer - and with some awesome guitar work featured on the album, it was a pleasing release and a good way to show that a "post-Owens" Chiodos would still be a good band. A couple years later, Bolmer would end up leaving, and once again, fans would agonize over the future of Chiodos, but then the band announced something unexpected: Owens would be back! After reuniting with the original frontman and a proper amount of touring, they also announced that a fourth album was in the works, and now with the result of that fourth album, it seems to show that both the band and Owens have come a long way from where they last left off.

It's not hard to argue that "Devil" is the most mature-sounding Chiodos album in their discography. Deciding to double-down (maybe even so much as triple-down) on the classical instrument usage that was present in "Illuminaudio," Chiodos starts right off the bat with a high-brow composition of piano and violins in "U.G. Introduction," and throughout most of the songs on the album, there's always a presence of piano and/or strings. This penchant for orchestral elements works well for the post-hardcore/metalcore songs on the album: it gives "We're Talking About Practice" and "Sunny Days & Hand Grenades" a bit of a goth flavor to it, and the serene orchestral melodies in the verses of "Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now" and "Why the Munsters Matter" provide a nice contrast to the heavy choruses and breakdowns. However, these elements are best in the electric ballad "Duct Tape," the acoustic-imbued "Looking for a Tornado" and the final song "I Am Everything That's Normal," with the innate ability of strings to enhance emotion working in perfect complement to Craig Owens' sensitive tone of vocals on these songs. While the symphonic elements are a dominant player, they don't oversaturate the album, and songs like "Behvis Bullock" and "Expensive Conversations in Cheap Motels" providing a hearty dose of ferocious metalcore - and though the guitar-work on "Devil" isn't as frantic as it was on "Illuminaudio," you'll find nice guitar solos and complex lead guitar-lines in "Why the Munsters Matter," "Sunny Days & Hand Grenades," "Looking for a Tornado" and "Expensive Conversations in Cheap Motels." With the main aesthetic of the album being dark, heavy and neo-classical, the alternative-punk-styled song "I'm Awkward & Unusual" and the happy pop-punk songs "3 AM" and "Under Your Halo" break away from that aesthetic, and while these songs aren't bad, they seem to water down the intense vibe of the album with a different flavor that's a bit conflicting.

Lyrics — 6
Frontman Craig Owens had talked about the album "Devil" got its name based on Owens' interpretation of the word; having it being applied in a more more situational and metaphorical context than the typical and literal context of a pitchfork-wielding devil. Mostly, this comes in the form of regret over failed relationships- like in "3 AM," "Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now" and "Expensive Conversations in Cheap Hotels" - and inner struggles, like in "Looking for a Tornado" and "I'm Awkward & Unusual." The word "devil" appears in Owens lyrics a number of times in the album, as well as the synonymic term "demon" - more specifically, the spoken phrase "let go of your demons" in "Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now" seems to share a link with the line "I can chase away those demons" in "Duct Tape." Songs like "Looking for a Tornado" bear the more eloquent lyrics, as well as the catchy chorus "Devil, don't ever let me go/I've been looking for a tornado; chaos is something I've been missing," whereas the pop-punk songs "3 AM" and "Under Your Halo" bear much more simplistic lyrics - though the worst lyric of the album goes to "Duct Tape," with the facepalm-worthy "Just between you and me, yeah we got place to be/Dressed up so scary like it's Halloween."

Overall Impression — 8
Despite Chiodos' lineup being shaky for the past several years, their discography's quality is stable and strong, and "Devil" is another great addition to that group of albums. It makes a substantial jump from their last album, "Illuminaudio," but the transition between the two albums and their styles feels natural and smooth rather than drastic and estranged. The main aesthetic that Chiodos cultivates for this album is well-executed, though the three punk songs on the album may have been better off being released on a separate EP rather than included in this album to try and contrast the dominant darkness that the majority of the album portrays. But all in all, every song on the album is worth it.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hey, UG team, where's the review I wrote for this 2 weeks ago?
    My review for The Used still isnt up either >.>
    I've quite submitting reviews to this site, because they don't get published in any kind of timely manner anymore. Not to mention that I write better reviews than most of their staff, anyway. It gets frustrating. They are no longer taking members' submissions seriously, and it's irritating. I understand that probably a good 90% of member submissions consist of complete drivel, but there are those of us out there who know how to construct a sentence and make something worth reading. They apparently don't think so, anymore. Not to mention the email I started this account with is now defunct, so I can't even try to communicate with them anymore. This was once a very member conscious site. Admittedly, they published way too many shit reviews back then with no real insight, but to completely blow members off, now, it's kind of insulting.
    'I understand that probably a good 90% of member submissions consist of complete drivel" There is your answer, I’m sure they don’t have the staff to sift through the drivel to get to the well written & relatively sanely written reviews.
    The Spoon
    I haven't submitted a review in a long time, but I can attest to the fact they used to accept any and all reviews. My old reviews of albums from when I was like 14 are god awful, yet they still got accepted, lol.
    The Spoon
    I think Craig really shines on this album and his delivery is really great. I think the music itself is so bland this time around. I was so excited at the prospect of Thomas bringing something awesome to Chiodos, but he has almost no defining presence. It both sucks and at the same time is a little admirable. I guess it's cool he didn't try to take all the spotlight, but he completely blended into the background. If he left Chiodos, it probably wouldn't make any difference at all.
    I agree with you, I felt that the music was bland, there's no dynamic feel in the songs and some of the songs kinda sound same-y all the way through. The music for me was all over the place. I was hoping that Thomas would bring something new to the Chiodos sound. But I guess they didn't want to alienate the hardcore fans by changing their sound dramatically. Maybe the new album might amend that. Other than that, I will keep listening to the album, cause there are some good moments in the songs and some lines from Craig that I really liked.
    what the **** is with all the bands lately reuniting with old members "oh shit the last couple of albums bombed lets get (x) back they were the real money spinner in the band"
    I don't think that's it at all. Disagreements happen. Band members need space/time to do their own thing. And so on. Chiodos never struck me as a band solely concerned with money.
    Besides, if you look into Craig Owen's personal life, even just a wikipedia search reveals he's a bit of a stressful person. He's got bipolar disorder and is most likely a bit of a drama queen.
    I agree. Since when did this band decide to go pop completely? 3 AM, Under Your Halo, etc. really indicate that.