In today’s climate, it’s not all that often that bands who aren’t at it full-time can last to see a decade long career, nevermind celebrate the tenth anniversary of a release. Alas, British progressive metal darlings Devil Sold His Soul have reached this pinnacle milestone with their debut ‘A Fragile Hope’, and what better way to celebrate such an achievement than hitting the road?
Opener and the only choice of support on all four dates of this special run FOES  are very similar to the evening’s headliners musically, focusing on huge soundscapes and chord strikes that just sound enormous. It’s hard to not agree on how massive they sound, but something that they lack is an arsenal of hooks to keep you reeled in to hear more and more. There’s greatness here, the band just haven’t struck it yet.
Croydon boys Bad Sign  have been gaining quite a bit of traction lately, and with a debut album on the way in a few short weeks, this could be the start of something big for the trio. Joe Appleford‘s bass lines sound thick and his voice sounds smooth, aloft over Kevin Miller‘s frantic drum work and the raucous riff work of Jonathan Harris. Songs like ‘Closure’ and ‘Square One’ just hit fast and hard, and mark a rather promising future.
To make the ever more common album play through tours that these ten year anniversary celebration brings nowadays a little more unique, Devil Sold His Soul  have brought back original vocalist Ed Gibbs to join current frontman Paul Green on tag team vocal duties. It’s new territory, but their trade-offs throughout the album’s running work perfectly.
Entry point ‘As The Storm Unfolds’ sounds more menacing than it did on that very first spin of the record back in 2007, and both Gibbs and Green seem to be on top form. ‘The Starting’ sounds incredibly monstrous, and it’s hard to not get a bit of chill from the haunting presence of ‘Between Two Words’.
It’s the album closing one-two of ‘The Coroner’ and ‘Hope’ that steals the show. A full call-to-arms refrain of “This is our last hope” alongside Gibbs‘ and Green‘s combined whirlwind of shrilled screams pegs the highlight in the former, and for the duration of the latter the whole room permeates with nearly everyone in the room singing back almost the entirety of the song’s lyrics.
The band return for an encore of ‘Time’ and the near 10-minute long mammoth that is ‘End Of Days’, and it’s here that it begins to sink in; this is arguably one of the band’s best shows of their career, seeing off a special one-off tour of their two vocalists into one powerhouse. Such a line-up staying put seems unlikely, but at a time when the band have recently opened up about questioning their hope of a future upon releasing their latest song ‘The Reckoning’, a tour to celebrate ‘A Fragile Hope’ seems ironic – hope for Devil Sold His Soul seems far from fragile.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.