30 Nov 2022

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Devilskin - Album Review: Red

01 Apr 2020 // A review by Kris Raven

On album number four, RED is both a warning and a statement and Devilskin are here to deliver it in their most diverse and creative outing yet. Four years have passed since the release of their 2016 award-winning second album Be Like The River and as they come off the back of heavy national and international touring; Devilskin, one of NZ’s most beloved Rock/Metal bands is about to release their highly anticipated album in amongst the chaos of 2020.

While the world is dealing with crisis, the music world is blessing us with some of the best art and content so far this year. Devilskin have created a very inspired, well written and lyrically very human record. Produced by global powerhouse-resident NZer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers/Ekko Park) and Simon Gooding (Pink, Alien Weaponry), the production on RED is as huge as ever; crisp, with a real feel between live and studio, and complete with some added layers and elements (I heard that cow bell!).

Opening with Do You See Birds (take note musicians - this is the way to start an album), this is a constructively aggressive piece designed to get the heart pumping and the pit moving quickly. Guitarist Nail begins proceedings with an SOAD type inspired riff; shreddy and heavy, which is soon joined by the thundering Martin rhythmic powerhouse. The song's dynamic plays out between frantic full and half speed rhythms, with vocalist Jennie Smathers' showcasing her incredible vocal range; we are given spine chilling high notes, mammoth screams and punk inspired angst, all within four minutes.

The second track and second single is All Fall Down (with an incredible futuristic video). This song is a definite DS banger, complete with all the parts we have come to know and love from the band; the opening riff has a Disturbed feel, but if Disturbed were progressive metal. Nail’s epic guitar solo during the bridge will impress guitar virtuoso's and generally anyone who likes rad guitar solos - with a little bit of Dimebag and Maiden influence perhaps. The metalcore-like double kick and guitar sync breakdown during the chorus with the haunting organ in the chorus, adds a cinematic vibe to a very hooky song. The vocal melodies are rampant throughout and memorable, with the anthemic “We all fall down” belting out, with my favourite line being “life's a deadly game”. 

The third track and also third single to be released, Corrode is a bit of grower, I really like the crunchy heaviness of the intro with the china cymbal smashing away. A little slower throughout compared to the onslaught of the first two songs but this is still a definite head banging thrasher. They also create further depth with guitar effects creating synth like sounds, creating further atmosphere to the backdrop of the Devilskin sound. Eyes Red Heavy begins as a slower melodic song with a massive chorus. An amazing solo by Nail, it has that metal ballad feel (and not cheesy, shi%y ballad, this is a ballad done right!). I can see this being another DS single and crowd favourite. "Trying to improve myself", these feelings that overwhelm, a very global message we can all relate to. You think the song is over, no, rad acoustic outro!, reminds me a little of 80's era Metallica.

Same Life starts with Paul Martin's huge rumbling bass line and carries a punk rock feel, Jennie's vocals have a Davey Havok style scream to them with some low growls for good measure. Driving into another catchy chorus that changes between full and half speed tempos, drummer Nic Martin throwing in some tasty and well written drum fills with Paul continuing the pulsing rhythms. We are midway people, and this ship ain't slowing down at all.

The Victor begins with a massive bouncy groove and carries that feel throughout, while the vocals flow with infectious hooks and punches. Paul Martin's chorus heavy melodic bass lead invites us into track seven Blood and Bone. A slow burning start is then washed with heavy distorted open chords and solid drum patterns. And then we reach Endo, which is easily one of the best all time DS tracks for me. I love the clean melodic intro; the bounce of the main guitar riff is familiar and effective. The lyrical theme of this song is a message that many women globally can relate too and something that needs to be voiced on a larger scale (for everyone). This song is crazy hooky and the vocals are huge. Then my favourite intro on RED and an absolute album highlight; Bright Lights begins with a mechanically intricate finger picked guitar hook (this carries throughout parts of the song) with another distorted riff planted over the top. It has all the feels of a modern progressive metal/rock song. Jennie’s vocals shining over in the chorus and a few bone crushing throat punchers too. I like the addition of the percussion, adding that extra layer to a song full of well-crafted depth.

Sweet Release begins gently and carries like a story. Nic's drums play like waves and bends, Paul  carries the main riff, simple and driving, on bass while Nail fills in the space with tasty licks, clean picking and leads including a very classy, blues-Clapton-esque solo. This is definitely one of my top songs on the album. The lyrics resonate too "Life's emotion, sweet release", and we are then taken out by a beautiful piano only outro. Be Like The River feels like an ode to their past (reference to previous album) and also to the future, with their old and new fans referenced in the lyrics: "Be like the river and flow like the stream and one day you will be a part of me". This is a bluesy rock/metal piece, some NOLA vibes with lots of groove and attitude, I really enjoyed the in-sync funky bass and drum comradery in the final verse. And if Jennie's vocals haven’t wowed you by now then the outro will take you to church, full gospel and those phenomenal high vocals.

Everybody's High But Me is the latest single and is a very fun tongue-and-cheek, fast, punk-and-roll upbeat tune, and a good way to end the album ... on a high. Following the classic DS formula but saving some extra fun for the grand finale, when Jennie's vocals channel the legend that is Mike Patton and Satan. It's very cool and being a Patton fan, I dug it. Great way to end what is a very diverse album. And it is diverse, you can tell everyone has brought in their plethora of influence from decades of musical taste and it really works, making this album one you keep finding things on. There are songs for old school DS and traditional metal and rock fans, but also people who need a little taste of the alternative, progressive and new school. RED has certainly out-blown my expectations and I look forward to hearing this on vinyl, checking out the awesome artwork in the flesh and catching some of my new favs live. 

RED is the universal colour of passion, vitality, blood, danger, romance, anger, horror and love - this album captures all that and much more. And you can hear it all from 3 April 2020!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Devilskin

Devilskin is a four-piece band from Hamilton which formed in June 2010. They have guts, class, kudos and confidence. The sum total of a determined and accomplished group of musicians who know what they want, the music is organic, dynamic and real.

The band features the spectacular Jennie Skulander on lead vocals. Her powerful and compelling voice and alluring stage presence sets her apart from any vocalist New Zealand has put up so far. With an unerring gift for melody, Jennie's incredible voice sweeps from whisper to roar, rips with power, drips with melody and captivates with sincerity.

Jennie previously fronted Rotorua band Slipping Tongue garnering a swathe of fans with their videos, EPs and album. Slipping Tongue also impressed many when they opened for Coheed & Cambria in 2008.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Devilskin


Year: 2020
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Be Like The River
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
We Rise
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Live At The Powerstation
Year: 2014
Type: DVD

Other Reviews By Kris Raven

Crooked Royals - Album Review: Quarter Life Day Dream
19 Oct 2022 // by Kris Raven
Kiwi progressive Metalcore 5-piece Crooked Royals are a ticking time bomb, the anticipation and hype for their debut album Quarter Life Day Dream is brewing, and their path to global domination has been building since their inception. They have come out of pit swinging and have hit 2022 hard, heavy and ready to take on the international stage.
Infinity Ritual - Single Review: I'm Gone
25 May 2022 // by Kris Raven
New Plymouth three piece Infinity Ritual are blasting out the gate, fresh off the boots of their debut first single I'm Gone from their self-titled upcoming EP. The song begins with a thunderous drum fill courtesy of drummer Mark Thomas, making way for a big groovy, distorted onslaught of guitar riffage.
No Life - EP Review: Radical Thoughts
14 May 2022 // by Kris Raven
Whilst fairly fresh to the NZ music scene (original formation in 2019), South Island quartet No Life are here to leave a pummeling imprint on 2022 and beyond with the release of their debut EP. Radical Thoughts delivers three massive tracks of progressive metalcore with embellishments of modern nu metal and industrial.
EP Review: Wolves/Gravel Pit Split EP
10 Apr 2022 // by Kris Raven
Open your ears, get your windmill arms ready and brace yourself for 5 tracks of hardcore punk from some of New Zealand’s finest. Bringing back the classic 7” vinyl split EP on side one are the relatively new Auckland 4 piece Wolves featuring members of the Bleeders, City of Souls and Evil Priest.
End Boss - Album Review: They Seek My Head
07 Apr 2022 // by Kris Raven
Wellington's End Boss featuring members of Beastwars and Ghidoragh and the incredible vocals of EJ Thorpe, have delivered one of the finest albums of 2022. A heavy music juggernaut, which combines huge lashings of doom, stoner and heavy metal with cinematic, post metal, ethereal vocals and elements that leave your ears comfortably bleeding and your mind blown musically and lyrically throughout.
Sidewinder - Album Review: Vines
05 Mar 2022 // by Kris Raven
Wellington's Sidewinder have just dropped their debut album Vines and coinciding NZ tour. The five-piece formed in 2020, have already made a mark on the rock NZ scene, releasing three singles (featuring on the Vines), along with national and international radio play and playing extensively in their home town and beyond.
Sit Down In Front - EP Review: Fuelling My Rage
20 Jan 2022 // by Kris Raven
3-Piece Punk Rockers Sit Down in Front have been consistently cranking out music and gigging nationally since they began in 2017. With two full length albums, a slew of charting radio singles and music videos as well as an impressive gigging resume, they have been making their mark, leaving their statement and creating a solid body of straight up punk hits ever since.
Wisteria Falls - Single Review: Temperamental
18 Jan 2022 // by Kris Raven
Introducing you to Wisteria Falls, the latest project from Auckland musician and songwriter Will Walker. Will is no stranger to the Auckland & NZ music scene or the Australian rock scene for that matter.
View All Articles By Kris Raven

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Sam Smith And Kim Petras
    Taylor Swift
    Meghan Trainor
    Drake And 21 Savage
    David Guetta And Bebe Rexha
    Oliver Tree And Robin Schulz
    Chris Brown
  • 685 (REMIX)
    Victor J Sefo, Lisi And Mwayz
    venbee And goddard.
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem