Devil Sold His Soul – ‘Loss’

By Dave Stewart

London’s ambient metalcore pioneers Devil Sold His Soul have been quiet for a very long time. Having released a couple of mouth-watering singles a few years ago, 2021 marks seven years since they released their ‘Belong Betray’ EP and an even lengthier fourteen years since their genre-defining album ‘A Fragile Hope’. This is also the year they return with their highly anticipated fourth full length record ‘Loss’, and as soon as you begin listening you’ll forget they were ever gone at all.

For the fans that want the familiar taste of huge walls of guitars and venomous vocals interwoven with moments of pure bliss and tranquility, you won’t be disappointed. Album opener ‘Ardour’ proves that they’re picking up exactly where they left off, toying with textures and tones to create an impact that’s both hard-hitting and velvety on contact. ‘Acrimony’ expands on those textures, wielding a lingering darkness that contrasts the elegant and captivating melodies with electrifying results.

There are songs here that really sweep you off your feet, whisking you away to somewhere serene and beautiful where you can float in the calm waters they’ve created. ‘Witness Marks’ is a prime example of this, flowing in and out of ambience like the tide as the dual vocal performance of Ed Gibbs and Paul Green glides over you. The undeniable epic surges within ‘But Not Forgotten’ create a similar effect too, the dynamics changing gear in all the right places to create intense spine-tingling shivers.

This kind of ambient-metalcore weight is exactly what you’d expect from the band and this record certainly delivers it, but there are so many intricacies in the details of this record that make it so much more than their first record back after a long break. This is the beginning of their evolution into something even greater.

A couple of welcome surprises are on show here too, showing that they’re still evolving and exploring new avenues within their world. ‘The Narcissist’ is one of their heaviest songs to date, boasting an endearing yet unsettling dissonance that sits beneath the bellowing guitar work of Jonny Renshaw and Rick Chapple. ‘Burdened’ and ‘Tateishi’ both turn up the tempo dial to speeds that they haven’t really touched before, embracing a dose of frenzied energy into their often reposeful formula.

The album closer and title track is the real star of the show here though, rounding things out in the most stunning and soul-stirring way. Imbued with an abundance of emotion, the power of which is heightened by the delicate pianos and strings, it slowly gains momentum before throttling towards a colossal crescendo that rockets everything skyward, providing an astonishing view of everything that they’ve built throughout their career. They are masters of their craft and this record shows that with indisputable ease. This isn’t just a return to form – this is a reclaiming of their place at the top of the pile, and they’re seemingly only just getting started.

Their time away has been frustratingly long but it was clearly well spent, as this record shows them on top form. There’s tonnes of characteristics that you’d expect from a Devil Sold His Soul album carefully dotted with plenty of moments that you wouldn’t, creating a sound that satisfies your nostalgia whilst stirring an excitement in their continued development. ‘Loss’ is a perfect blend of their classic, well-established sound, spliced with modern twists that places them back to the top of the deck with ease. Here’s to hoping that we won’t be left in waiting so long for the next album.

DAVE STEWART

Three more album reviews for you

Graphic Nature - ‘Who Are You When No One Is Watching?’

Northbound - 'Juniper'

LIVE: Download Festival 2024 - Sunday