Please note: I have given this album a score out of one-hundred. I didn’t think the star-rating could quite get my point across as one score was too low, and the other too high.
Devil You Know are back. The release of They Bleed Red came as a nice surprise to me only a year after their first record, but I’m not sure if they improved on the first attempt or not.
It all starts off rather well, with the heavy, fast-paced opening track Consume the Damned. This song achieves everything Devil You Know do right. With a great riff, catchy chorus and a level of brutality not usually present in metalcore. The Way We Die continues this trend, but with more emphasis put on the chorus.
One of the things that got on my nerves a little with their first release was the odd effect they put over Howard Jones’ voice. In They Bleed Red, the effect appears to be severely reduced, but still there just enough to notice it. It’s a strange move from the band, as Jones’ voice can be as smooth as melted chocolate.
As with other metalcore, Devil You Know typically stick to a strict verse, chorus, verse, chorus, guitar solo, chorus structure. It’s simple, but fun. This structure requires catchy choruses, quality riffs and a good amount of fun in the music. They Bleed Red struggles (as like the band’s first record) with particularly catchy choruses.
Coming from metalcore maestro’s Killswitch Engage, you’d expect Jones’ choruses to be better, but they still remain a sticky spot for Devil You Know. Your Last Breath struggles with its chorus, but it’s main riff is heavy, catchy and a whole lot of fun. This song sums up the best and worst of Devil You Know, showcasing that they still need a little bit of work in song writing – perhaps more involvement from a producer is required to get the best out of them.
Devil You Know had the ability to surprise with how heavy they can get, probably a side-effect from a couple of the band members’ time spent in industrial metal. They Bleed Red gets very heavy on more than a couple of occasions. The trouble is, probably thanks to industrial metal roots, nothing ever gets particularly complicated.
The performances from all involved are fine, without coming across as particularly accomplished. It creates an atmosphere within the album that it could’ve been just a little bit better throughout. Everything about They Bleed Red is fine, just not excellent. Some tracks do stand out as particularly strong however.
Master of None, Consume the Damned, The Way We Die, Broken By the Cold and the extremely awesome How the End Shall Be spring to mind as standouts. These tracks showcase Devil You Know at their best: Heavy, quick, dark and full of strong riffs. These are the sort of songs that surprise you. They take the best elements of the record and stick with them throughout their runtimes. No slightly iffy choruses, no kind of experimentation. These are the kind of tracks I’d expect the band to be playing live in years to come – they just work.
They Bleed Red once again shows that Devil You Know are a band that needs a little bit of work. The ingredients are all there for an incredible record, but they aren’t necessarily in the correct measures. Don’t get me wrong, They Bleed Red never gets bad, but there are a good number of tracks on the record that don’t fulfil their potential. Devil You Know haven’t fulfilled their potential. They Bleed Red is full of promise, but there is enough broken hope throughout that hold it, and the band, back from what I know they can be.
They Bleed Red is heavy and full of promise, with a good number of kick-ass tracks, but there is enough present to drag the record down from its true potential. Devil You Know are a band going places, but They Bleed Red still feels like the band finding their feet to some extent.