If ever there is a more fitting band name for a project by Steve Janiak, it's Devil To Pay. Almost a decade ago, Janiak was nearly killed by intestinal surgery. A subsequent blood clot left him with his guts held in by Ace bandages.
Janiak recovered, and he's managed to create one of Indianapolis' most revered and long-lasting bands, Devil to Pay, which will celebrate the release its third album, Heavily Ever After
, Saturday, Aug. 15, at Indy's metal home, Zanies Too.
"I was thrilled to make our second record [Cash is King
] because I'd never made more than one record with any band I'd ever been in," Janiak says. "So I figured I might as well go for a third one with Devil To Pay."
After a few years with two differently-styled guitarists revolving in and out of the band, Devil to Pay has finally found a permanent guitarist: Rob Hough, formerly of Signs of Decay and Legion.
"This is definitely Devil To Pay's guitar record," Janiak states. "With Rob in the band, the guitar parts are so much more powerful. We actually almost had Rob in the band when our first guitarist left, but we kept picking the first guy who auditioned instead of waiting and picking the guy we should have picked in the first place."
For his part, Rob feels right at home in Devil to Pay and has no plans on going anywhere any time soon. "In my past bands I really couldn't have fun, because all the guitar parts were so fast and so technical," Hough says. "Now, I can lay back and jam and really create a good sound rather then having to concentrate on nailing some impossibly fast guitar part."
As it turns out, Heavily Ever After
is probably the best guitar record Indy has produced in quite some time. "Grimoires," "Distemper" and especially "Thinning the Herd" are thick, heavy chunks of guitar sludge, which feature Janiak and Hough's guitars in a locked-in, competitive groove. Clean production also allows listeners to hear the carnage more clearly.
"When All Is Said and Done" is a showpiece for bassist Matt Stokes, who, as equal parts Geezer Butler and John Entwistle, is the secret ingredient in Devil to Pay's arsenal. "High Horse" is this album's shining moment, on which Janiak's backwoods yowl creeps over classic-rock inspired guitars.
Devil To Pay may garner some national exposure with a trip to Maryland this September for the three day Stoner Hands of Doom fest. The band will also play the Vollrath Aug. 28 with California heavyweights White Witch Canyon, New Mexico's SuperGiant and locals Sosayth.