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Devilfire: Dark Manoeuvres

Much though some people might try to convince you differently, with bands like The King Lot, Bad Touch or even the more established Vega coming through, the new UK rock scene is as impressive and varied as ever. With their debut effort Dark Manoeuvres a hugely impressive slab of riffs, rock and blues, we can also add Devilfire to that ever growing list. What with its rock and metal heritage (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and so many more), it should maybe be no surprise that this lot hail from Birmingham. More impressively is that they don't allow that history to weigh heavily on them, the first thing that hits you about their 13 songs debut being just how confident it sounds. Yet, if it didn't contain the solid and sometimes spectacular set of songs it does, that proud strut would count for little. Instead, "Lay It On The Line" has the belief to take a slow modern rock stomper and add in an almost laid back flamenco guitar solo, while the slow build of "Ready For War?" offers an insight into the band that immediately sets them out as an eclectic beast. Part Alter Bridge, part Eclipse, part Magnum, part Thunder, Devilfire are comfortable enough in their own abilities - and the songs they've written - to play devil may care with fitting neatly into a rock-box; rather they're more than happy to gently push at their boundaries and investigate how to expand their sound, albeit within a reasonably set framework.

"She's Like Fire" adds a darker goth n' roll brood but it does so with its foot on the pedal, while it's "(In And Out Of Love) All Of The Time" that's makes an early bid to bring some blues thunder to the party, Danny Bowes and the boys evoked through a sultry swagger and deep insistent groove. With "Kill Your Love" taking a diversion into the melodic hard rock territory Eden's Curse so eagerly inhabit and "God Give Me Vengeance" smoothly sliding into something ever so slightly more AOR like (although we are talking heavied up AOR), the clever changes of pace continue. While with "She's Always On the Run" slowing things down in an assured manner, there's also an eye on the more respected side of the 80s scene.

Singer Alex Cooper, who you might know from Hanging Doll (and as a go-to studio expert used by acts like Shy, Spike of the Quireboys and Ginger Wildheart) is one of the main reasons Devilfire somehow manage to straddle all of these different aspects so well. His voice steeped in 70s rock traditions, but bright and engaging enough to infuse a more good time vibe where the occasion deserves it. Alongside guitarists Baz Blackett and Richard Bloomer-Davis, the trio make a mighty unit and when backed by the rhythm department of bassist Dave Bennett and drummer Lars Wickett, there really isn't a weak spot to be found.

Don't believe the doubters, UK rock is in good health. Devilfire may not quite be at the head of the pack just yet, but they know how to get there and will soon be offering those slightly more established bands some serious competition. With Dark Manoeuvres like these, there's little doubt they have the guile and nous to make very quick headway.

Track Listing
1. Ready For War?
2. She's Like Fire
3. (In And Out Of Love) All Of The Time
4. Waiting For A Rockstar
5. Lay It On The Line
6. Kill Your Love
7. Tear Me Apart
8. God Give Me Vengance
9. Devil In Your Eyes
10. (You Gotta) Revolution
11. She's Always On The Run
12. A Thousand Times
13. Somehow

Added: October 6th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Devilfire online
Hits: 1759
Language: english

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