My first encounter with Akron Ohio's Devilstrip came from an interesting place, an episode of the American television series Bar Rescue, featuring Jon Taffer. He was rescuing Tim "Ripper" Owens bar, Ripper's Rock House, from financial ruin. The climax of the show is the relaunch of the reinvented and often renamed bar, in this case to Tim Owens' Traveler's Tavern. For the relaunch Devilstrip was hired to play the venue. You don't get to see or hear much during the show. But Devilstrip did have my attention. So image my surprise when a UK PR agent pitches the band to me. From Ohio to England and back to Pennsylvania. It appears that Devilstrip will be touring England after dropping their debut album, Rise, this month.
Suffice to say Devilstrip, a power trio, is classic American hard and heavy rock band, borrowing from both past and present. Listening to songs like Kill The Headlights, Go, Not What You Need, and To The Enemy, you will hear the band channeling things from Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith to late Eighties Sunset Strip, then from Nirvana to Foo Fighters to Buckcherry and other things modern and post grunge. And they do it with sharp, often crashing, riffage and a blistering bottom end, all wrapped within melody and harmony. This comes naturally from Marc Wasmund's vocal presentation as he's a superior singer. Clean, clear, and strong. Conversely, and curiously, as their guitarist, Wasmund isn't too big on guitar solos. I honestly can't recall one or perhaps they were too brief I missed them. If anything, this is the missing link that would turn Devilstrip from a fine band to a great, even awesome, band. (Maybe they arrive in the live shows?) Returning to the songs again, another significant element of the Devilstrip sound is pure catchy, toe-tapping, rock groove. Mostly this is lead by the bass line and backed up by terrific drumming. Check out the bass within Kill The Headlights and To The Enemy, by example. Moreover, all these things are brought out be some fine production. Whoever had their hands on the knobs from recording to mastering did a superb job. All in all, Devilstrip's Rise is solid stuff: classic American hard rock with gusto, groove, melody, and arena-ready accessibility. Recommended. You should check this band out.
All in all, Devilstrip's Rise is solid stuff: classic American hard rock with gusto, groove, melody, and arena-ready accessibility. Recommended. You should check this band out.
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