BY: MICHELLE PEREZ-VEGA
The connoisseurs of Ohio’s ‘Rustbelt Rockternative’ – aka Devilstrip – have come roaring back with their latest release, GRAVITATE, which is one all-mighty awakening, powerful and energizing musical presentation. This is the band’s second album respectively and first on its new label, Broken Roads Records, based out of the UK.
Vocalist/Guitarist Marc Wasmund, Bassist Graig Lindgren, and Drummer Jimmy Gray have always lived by the code of ‘what you hear is what you’re gonna get.’ While GRAVITATE shows a definitive growth from RISE, don’t expect a slick, overly-produced release that has been manipulated by studio techniques. The band has stayed true to its raw, in-your-face rock: what you hear on the album is what Devilstrip essentially encompasses when playing live. And that’s a great thing.
“Snakebite” starts off GRAVITATE with a few slow chords of wonderfully distorted bass sounds courtesy of Lindgren before the entire band smashes in, complete with Wasmund’s signature wails. “Testify” follows, which is full of all the swagger, sexual innuendo, and ‘tude that pays homage to the best and baddest girl a trailer park has to offer.
The title track, “Gravitate,” shows off Gray’s drumming with an attitude that jumps off and compliments lyrics of addiction before the band slows it down a notch with “Skin,” a song filled with all the remorse you can handle (“Look what I’ve done to you again/Look what I’ve done to my best friend”). The lyrics, however, are sincere as is the music that envelopes them.
“Silent” sees Devilstrip slowing it down even more, with the title being an oxymoron to the actual lyrics: “Do we keep our heads down/and watch what we say?” Rather, it’s a call to speak out to the various injustices one encounters on a daily basis. The serious tone continues with “Came to Fight,” an ode to the military man shipped and stationed overseas who is dealing with the hard and harsh realities of enlistment.
“Bitter” follows, and man, what an acrimonious and raucous tune it is! (And that’s a compliment.) Don’t know who Devilstrip is mad at but if you have a huge ego, are so damn bitter by being burned and a host of other complaints…well, the band wants to punch you in the face for starters. (To the listener: Steer clear for a while until you know it isn’t you. Those death growls mean business.)
“Catch My Breath” is maybe the closest thing that can be classified as a ballad from the band, a beautiful musical arrangement filled with tributes to a love. (“I can see a forever in my mind/It took a while to get there/you’re one of a kind/somebody catch me”), while “Rider” is one great song that encapsulates the talent of the band as a whole. “Water” ends GRAVITATE, a curious tune that can remind the listener a tad of Alice in Chains, but it’s all good.
Quite simply stated: If RISE was the band’s debut musical ascension to the masses, then GRAVITATE will definitely pull and draw the listener further into Devilstrip’s web. The band has matured in both songwriting and musical abilities while not abandoning the oath to rock you.
- Came to Fight
- Catch My Breath