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Devil To Pay
Thirty Pieces Of Silver
5/16/2004 - Review by: Eric Compton
Devil To Pay - Thirty Pieces Of Silver 2003 Benchmark Records reviewed by: EC

Track Listing
1. Mouthful Of Spite
2. The Lamb
3. Dinosaur Steps
4. Whores Of Babylon
5. Angular Shapes
6. Tractor Fuckin' Trailer
7. The New Black
8. Swathe
9. Lowest Common Denominator
10. Toreador
11. Valley Of The Dogs
"Thirty Pieces Of Silver" is the debut record from Indianapolis doomers Devil To Pay, bringing their brand of smoke-filled, bar boogey, down and out heavy blues to light courtesy of Benchmark Records. Devil To Pay won a battle of the bands in August of 2003, taking home a $10,000 prize, and landing them a record gig with Benchmark. I've always enjoyed a good doom session, cranking it up and letting the riffs grind me away, but in this case, Devil To Pay doesn't bring home the bacon.

There are really good rock and roll doom bands out there, from big acts like Cathedral and Solitude Aeturnes, to smaller venue bands like Dirty Power and Supervillain. Devil To Pay have a debut record on their hands that is really middle of the road. There is no superstar quality here that would really set them apart from other bands in the genre. They simply rock for rock's sake, staying safe when they should be taking the turns at top speed. This is very boring to me, and possibly, they can improve from this and move past it.

Opening track "Mouthful Of Spite" comes on like an up-tempo Sabbath before embarking on a tired, borrowed doom riff from days past. "Dinosaur Steps" is a fairly aggressive track, almost thrashy at times, which adds an additional element to the album, but unfortunately the group stray from that and go back to the tired, doom & gloom. "Whores Of Babylon" crawls at Grief speed, with guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak's vocals extremely low in the mix, making it very hard to hear him, much less understand what he is saying. "Angular Shapes" misses the "hook" completely, but does have a great, soaring lead towards the beginning.

"Tractor Fuckin' Trailer" is probably my favorite song on the album, with some Cathedral moments mixing in Tool's down-tuned rumblings, with Janiak's voice improved slightly here. Probably the most interesting tune along with "The New Black", with hints of Thin Lizzy's twin guitar melody.

Devil To Pay doesn't do anything out of the ordinary here, sort of just going through the motions. Bluesy numbers, generic guitar riffs, nothing overwhelming, just more of the same. Nothing I need in my collection, nor would I ever listen to this other than Saturday night collection surfing. Everyone likes their own thing so this may grow on someone. From a debut stand point, the record isn't too bad, just a satisfactory foundation to build from. The band is young and has plenty of room to grow.

For fans of Lead Foot, Electric Wizard, and maybe even old Kyuss. With bands like Fireball Ministry gaining in popularity, Devil To Pay could catch a few exploring ears.

--EC 05.17.04

Thirty Pieces Of Silver
Eric Compton5/16/2004


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