Produced by Riccardo Daga, co-produced by DVL. Recorded at Titan Lab Recording Studio, Ferrara near Bologna, Italy. Released through WormHoleDeath Records on 27 May 2022.
DVL (formerly known as D3vilmaycry), the Glasgow-based Scottish metalcore band who formed in 2012 at the Academy of Music and Sound in Glasgow, release their second album on Friday 27 May 2022.
The follow-up to their independently released debut The Pawn That Took the King (2013) is a conceptual album of short stories that reflects on how we deal with mental health as individuals and how society perceives it, as well as interferes with it.
Lyrically, the songs touch on self-sabotage, the self-destructive society that we live in, sleep deprivation, religion being used as a form of manipulation, and personality disorders.
Musically, DVL are a fusion of metalcore, classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) plus American hard rock and metal influences. On first listening, this gave the album a bit of a patchy and unfocused feel, but on each subsequent listen I could appreciate the songs more and more.
The album opens with a driving modern NWOBHM song “Among us” (track 1). While the vocals remain clean, it steers the band in a very metalcore direction with noodling solos a-plenty. “Dead man’s switch” (track 2) takes a darker turn with a pounding riff and souring guitar solos. It is one of the highlights on the album for me along with “Dread” (track 4) which bounces along a dark groove before opening up to a spacious chorus then hunkering down again into its groove.
The first single from the album (are singles still a thing?) is the decidedly metalcore “Eternity” (track 3) which in some ways feels like a strange choice given how uncharacteristic it is of the album as a whole.
“Parasomnia” (track 5) is a mid-paced rocker with some nice guitar work and galloping drum work to support a pleasing melody. “The pitch” (track 6) takes things down a notch with a slow bluesy crooner that tips a whole milliner’s hop to Guns ‘n Roses for inspiration. Get your lighters ready, we’re going in for a ballad!
“Hallows” (track 7) opens with a strong Iron Maiden-style riff before it twists and turns its way through the song. It is almost prog in its ambition drawing on inspiration from a handful of genres.
Both “Stranger” (track 8) and “Trial by Fire” (track 9) sound like Helloween-inspired riffs, before they stomp off in their own directions, the former on a metalcore-infused path, the latter in a more NWOBHM direction.
Title track and album closer “Hush” (track 10) pulls everything together into one five-and-a-half-minute greatest hits. It is driving, complex, melodic and a damn good song… even if it does have those shouty metalcore vocals with which I don’t really connect.
As I have likely said before on this blog, I’m not a huge fan of metalcore as a genre but I was pleasantly surprised by this album. I can’t even put it down to a Scottish-bias as they’re from west-coast Glasgow and I was born in long-time rival, east-coast Edinburgh.
DVL are clearly a seasoned live band, as evidenced by their outings with In This Moment, Jinjer, Act of Defiance, Sylosis, and more. This comes through in their songs and playing. This is a solid album with some pleasing songs. It’s definitely worth a listen, especially “Dead Man’s Switch”, “Dread” and “Parasomnia”.
Review score: 75%
Rob from Stampede Press UK contacted me inviting me to preview this album, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either Stampede Press UK or DVL I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Rob from Stampede Press UK, and to DVL for continuing to create fresh, exciting music.