Devilskin – Be Like The River (Self Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Rich Hobson   
Monday, 30 January 2017 04:00

Devilskin - Be Like The River artworkGlobalisation is fast-becoming one of the hot go-to topics affecting everything from politics to business. In fact, just about the only place that globalisation isn’t a massive issue is in music – ‘cause, after all, does it really matter where our music comes from just so long as it’s good?


Rock and metal have a long and illustrious history of drawing bands from countries as diverse as Brazil (Sepultura), India (Demonic Possession) and Indonesia (Burgerkill). Yet, somehow the number of hard rockin’ bands making it big from the Oceanic continent is still set at minimal. All the more reason for a new wave of hard-hitting mothers to host an international invasion, then.


Devilskin hail from New Zealand and have been making big waves over there with their brand of Heavy Rock which comprises elements of alternative metal, 80s glam and a teensy-bit of sleaze. The band’s first album, the appropriately-titled ‘We Rise’, was released back in 2014 and was met with massive acclaim in their home country, leaping right to the top of the charts. So, how do you follow an album which goes to number one at home and is certified gold in just three weeks? You go for the international acclaim, of course.


‘Be Like A River' was released back in November and sees Devilskin cashing in their Heavy Rock chips for an album which could very well take them places on an international scale. The band started 2017 with a series of co-headline dates with the American critical-darlings Halestorm. It’s not hard to see why the bands were chosen to tour together; much of Halestorm’s biggest praise has been awarded for their ability to reference both the history of heavy rock, but also embrace newer aesthetics for a greater wider appeal.


Devilskin are much the same in this respect; the band drink deep from the goblet of 80s icons, whilst infusing some harder, more modern edges into their music for a sound which falls somewhere between Heart and Alter Bridge. There is a tangible air of arena-sized aspiration to Devilskin’s sound, with big riffs and even bigger vocals evoking memories of rock and metal at its commercial peak. Don’t let that deter you though; this isn’t a polished product full of ballads and pseudo-rock pop songs.



Each song in the Devilskin arsenal has teeth and riffs that stomp about with Very Big Boots on. The album’s harder tracks drop some of the size in favour of being fuelled on pure muscular performance, tracks like ‘Grave’ and ‘Mountains’ serving as prime examples of Devilskin at their most powerful. The rare ballad that does arise on ‘Be Like The River’ subverts your expectations. Penultimate track ‘Animal’ is a slow-burning track which could easily fit into the stoner sock canon, building gradually before exploding with a symphonic-like feel for the crescendo, which is then carried through to the grand finale of ‘Limbs’.


Taking its influences somewhere between 80s Arena legends and modern Rock hopefuls, Devilskin’s ‘Be Like The River’ is a taste of what is yet to come. The band hit plenty of highs across the album’s eleven tracks, opting in for a greater cohesion between individual songs rather than just splitting the album between “singles” and “not singles”. More of this and they’ll be well on the way to replicating the success that they enjoy back home.


Devilskin are touring the UK in March with Sumo-Cyco:


Devilskin March 2017 Tour Flyer