Devil You Know: The Beauty of Destruction Review:

The beauty of a metal super-group.

Cool album art to boot.
Cool album art to boot.

Featuring on vocals for the first time since Killswitch Engage’s second self-titled album from way back in 2009, Howard jones finds himself thrust back into the metal spotlight with the debut album from super-group Devil You Know, formed by John Sankey and Francesco Artusato of Fear Factory and All Shall Perish respectively.

In an agonising wait that lasted five years for fans of the baritone, screaming maestro that is Howard Jones many had thought he had quit the music scene altogether, as a circumstance of his development of type two diabetes. But the fears were all laid to rest when this album was announced, with new fears lying in wake – will it be as good as his stuff with Killswitch Engage?

The answer is yes, and in some cases better. However, it is almost a shame to compare this with his previous work, as it is a whole new band, with a different ethos. Comparing this record with Jones’ work on Killswitch Engage however comes naturally, indeed, the second track on the album My Own could have been lifted straight from the aforementioned 2009 album – but this is no bad thing, it is a track that lays down its own groove and plays to the strength of Jones as a vocalist and lyricist.

The album opens positively enough with A New Beginning, a nod to that this record is a new beginning for the front man, providing a heavy track that brings with it a different sound from the norm of Jones – it sounds more industrial, and this lays out the theme for the record as a whole barring a few tracks.

We are also treated to an awesome guitar solo and fantastic drum work in the opening track, reminding us that this is not only about Jones – this is still a band, not a solo piece. The way A New Beginning moves through its runtime is quite spectacular also, picking up pace after a bland opening, finishing off the song with crushing vocals and a slow, chunky riff to go along with them – this is good stuff.

As mentioned above, My Own is particularly reminiscent of a Killswitch track, setting us up to the idea of an album that toys with several different styles, which unfortunately does create an inconsistent feel to proceedings, summed up best by the slightly dull and underwhelming For the Dead and Broken, which is not as heavy as the rest of the record, but again, the guitar solo is killer, so there is something good in there – just a big lack of oomph.

Surprised that you haven't heard of him.
Surprised that you haven’t heard of him.

Which is kicked right in again with Seven Years Alone, a faster, more uncompromising track with some awesome blast-beats and an impressive vocal performance – anger fuels the metal spirit don’t y’know. Then we have It’s Over, which, again just isn’t good enough with its insistence of using a filter over Jones’ voice – it’s not a bad track though, as it gets better as it goes along.

However, despite the few tracks that dampen the overall atmosphere of the record there are more awesome ones, A Mind Insane in particular has one of my favourite choruses of all time, as well as some incredibly technical instrument work – backed up by one of Jones’ best ever vocal performances – it’s a killer track.

Crawl From the Dark is a strange track, it is slower, but I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy the chorus, which slows it right down, putting all the emphasis on the vocals – which are undeniably cool. Oddly though, the album on a whole is let down slightly by the vocals, they are a tad too low in the mix, and there are crappy filters seemingly placed on them.

Perhaps it is the song writing that doesn’t quite do it for me consistently though, as each song has its redeeming features, maybe the songs were not written quite in tandem with the lyrics.  Speaking of which, the lyrics of the album range from basic (It’s Over) to fairly complicated and powerful (The Killer), there’s a good mix of aggression, depression and maybe even a bit of happiness in here.

I do feel however that the album should have ended one tack shorter than it is – Shut it Down (the penultimate track), is incredible, whereas the last track (As Bright as the Darkness) never really gets going – this would’ve been better in the middle of the record in my opinion – or replacing one of the other slower, more boring tracks.

Summary:

Yes, it’s inconsistent, but there is more than enough quality in The Beauty of Everything for it to be easily recommendable – particularly the tracks Shut it Down and A Mind Insane should have any metal fans listening to them for years to come. Howard Jones is back, and it was worth the wait.

Not quite hard-hitting enough, Devil You Know have a solid first record with The Beauty of Destruction, they should just stick to the heavier stuff in the future.

80/100

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