Following the return of prodigal pretty boy Craig Owens, the cache of post-hardcore quintet Chiodos has proved to sky rocket once again, perhaps equally due to a morbid curiosity as to how previous tensions might manifest themselves than to the quality of any resulting music. Fortunately, the arrival of ‘Devil’ and its sumptuous take on lavish melody jousting against caustic aggression delivers all the hallmarks of not only a Chiodos working in productive harmony, but also a band scaling the pinnacle of their bombastic commercialism and beating a strident path towards world domination.
Running the gamet between their patently thespian theatrics and iron clad angst, ‘Devil’ fuses all that is an established Chiodos trademark into an cohesive spin of white hot intensity. After the ivory tickling preface of ‘U.G. Introduction’, a one-two punch of ‘We’re Talking About Practise’ and ‘Ole Fishlips Is Dead Now’ hammers out of the traps with widescreen choruses and snatches of flick knife violence.
Indeed, what hits hardest from this fourth full-length is the minefield of melodic breaks which detonate throughout. Even the likes of ‘Behvis Bullock’, which undoubtedly displays the band at their most bloodthirsty (note Owens turning in a viciously throat rendering performance) features an explosive hook to temper the bile spitting, whilst the super-charged majesty of ‘Duct Tape’, coupled with the accessible salutes of both ‘3AM’ and ‘Under Your Halo’, see a mastery of the melody game previously unmatched in the band’s canon and a newfound willingness to pull in the reins a little. A new flavour it may be, but it appears fresh out of the box and fully under command, further displaying the apparent ease with which Chiodos‘ musical muscle flexing has come.
Emphatic, europhic and anthemic, ‘Devil’ manages to cement Chiodos‘ standing once again as a vanguard force in a scene teeming with cookie cutter aspirants. Delivering on the promise that they weren’t interested in rehashing former glories, this is an album which positively bleeds the variety of hooks which die-hards will come to expect, yet sees a tenfold increase in maturity and songwriting know how.
It could all too easily have collapsed under the weight of its own hype, but as it is, ‘Devil’ is a thrilling testament to growth and ambition.
Written by Tony Bliss