Ten years is a long time for anybody. For a struggling metal band, ten years is an eternity. And eternity is a heavy concept, which suits Steve Janiak, and his merry band of badasses in Devil To Pay just fine.
Their latest release, Fate is Your Muse is chockfull of heavy, life-changing themes; it grapples with stuff like reincarnation, end of the world hysteria, conformity and even a little alien abduction. FiYM is, without a doubt, a towering, monumental piece of metal that has the power to transcend labels an genres. Doom? Straight up metal? Stoner rock? Whatever the fuck Metallica called what they were doing after Master of Puppets and before Load? Give FiYM half a chance and it will change you.
The confidence that the addition of Rob Hough added to Devil to Pay's last release, Heavily Ever After has solidified on this record, making this the musical apex of the band's career (thus far). Janiak and Hough effortlessly entwine their guitar heroics around the baddest rhythm section walking the planet right now. Matt Stokes and Chad Prifogle have each taken their games to another level. Fate is Your Muse is the album that should take these boys places, sold-out soccer stadiums in Paraguay and profiles on NPR and shit.
FiYM starts off with four tunes that rock your face and sets the tone for the album. "Prepare To Die" is the heaviest rewrite of "Dust In The Wind" ever. "Ten Lizardmen and One Pocketknife" is so everything it's title promises it to be. Proggy lyrics and breakneck guitar make this a fun ride, while Stokes' bass makes "Wearing You Down" a monster. "Already Dead" is a set apart by Prifogle's simple yet unbelievably cool cowbell work. Yes, cowbell. And it doesn't sound one bit cliché either. "Black Black Heart" and "The Naked Truth" are a couple of second half highlights.
However, it's the closer, "Beyond The Ether" that ends up as the album's crowning moment. It is a piece of Doom that is without a doubt the heaviest, sludgiest thing this band has ever done. It leaves the album off on a wink-wink high note. (The CD and Digital versions of FiYM also include the GloryHole 7" "This Train Won't Stop" and the excellent "Tie One On.").
The release party is set for this Friday, April 12 at Radio Radio. As good as this record is, it makes my innards hurt thinking how good this shit is gonna be live.