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Devil Gone Public: Smokehound

Having, a few years back, been publicly supported by and appeared with Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Devil Gone Mad now finally (after a split and reformation) release their debut album Smokehound. However don't let that link to Johnson fool you, DGP have nothing to do with Angus and his assembled allstars, other than both bands featuring guitar, drums and bass. Instead stoner-groove-doom-sludge-grunge is what this band deliver and while that may sound pretty much like a whole host of genre tags you often see lumped in together, in the case of Smokehound the flitting between attacks seems to cause confusion. At times this album is hard hitting, at times it lazily sits in the groove. On occasion there are, as though we're in extreme mode, howled out vocals, although cleaner sections often take things in a different direction entirely. In the end it's a lack of a clear focus that feels too strong to overcome for Smokehound to make the impression required.

"Euthanation" sits in almost Paw territory, that band's underrated, refined grunge sound coming through in the guitars and some vocals. So why the need to pile more angst on top through shrieks and yelps, I'm not sure. The same can be said for "Satan Hold My Hand", where a deeper metal groove hits hard before sparking off on needless tangents that simply peel back the intensity and reduce the full force nature of what remains; which when you consider that many of the elements shoveled on top are 'heavier', proves that sometimes definitely less can indeed be more. Strangely however, for all those niggles, there are sections and ideas in every single song that give you hope that this time Devil Gone Mad have hit the jackpot. "Poison The Well" rolls in on a groovefest of bass and guitars, while "Language Of Fear" sits comfortably in almost early Sabbath territory, the slow build reminding of "War Pigs". However with the strange desire from this band to constantly fix what isn't broken, hit stop on this album and recalling any of it remains a problem I haven't solved. Nothing is bad, but nothing quite manages to stand out either.

Still, after one false start for Devil Gone Public, it remains early days in their gestation. You'll certainly hear many worse albums this year, but in truth, you'll hear even more that are better.

Track Listing
2. Euthanation
3. Satan, Hold My Hand
4. Smokehound
5. Blood Debt (ft. Jake Duncan)
6. Poison The Well
7. Chillin, Killin
8. Language Of Fear
9. Galactic Amnesia

Added: August 20th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Devil Gone Public at Bandcamp
Hits: 1207
Language: english

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