You’re probably asking yourself if we need another female-fronted doom metal/occult rock act. I get that. This blend of 1970s-influenced rock/metal has been flooding the scene for a while now, although it finally seems to be tapering off a bit. Even so, I think it’s worth discussing the better entries, which brings us to the self-titled debut of Australia’s Devil Electric.
Devil Electric fit right in with bands such as Psychedelic Witchcraft, Purson, and Avatarium. You’ve got strong, doomy riffs, crooning female vocals, and that familar throwback sound indicative of the subgenre. Combine all those with some striking cover artwork and (from a high-level perspective at least) you know what you’re getting into.
Obviously, the first thing people are going to notice is the voice of Pierina O’Brien. Eschewing the more sultry delivery of Virginia Monti and Rosalie Cunningham, Pierina instead opts for power and energy which is a welcome change that sets Devil Electric apart from the herd. I might even compare her to a less bombastic version of Mandy Martillo. Her comfort spot seems to be in the mid-range, although she does dip into higher and lower registers when the song requires, such as in The Dove & the Serpent. Her voice isn’t particularly unique, but it fits with the vibe Devil Electric are putting out, and her performance is well-done overall.
This style of music lives and dies by the riffage, and for the most part, Devil Electric deliver. Opener Monologue (Where You Once Walked) features a doomy, Black Sabbath-inspired groove that sets the tone. The tempo picks up a bit on Shadowman and Lady Velvet, adding some much-needed variety. If your tastes lean towards the heavier end, skip ahead to Hypnotica, which might have the best opening riff on the album.
If you’re a fan of the bass guitar, Tom Hulse lays down one of the thickest performances in this subgenre. The instrumental track Monolith features him prominently, and his riffs permeate tracks such as The Sacred Machine and Lady Velvet.
There isn’t anything really to complain about, but at the same time there isn’t anything here you haven’t heard elsewhere. Sure, the vocal and bass performances are stand-outs, but the songs in general radiate familiarity. With this being the first album of a new band, I’m willing to give them a break.
Devil Electric have put out a strong debut, and while it reminds you of similar bands, it showcases strong potential. If the quartet takes a few more risks and continues to improve, I’ll expect a strong sophomore release from these Aussies. Until then, Devil Electric is an above-average release in a fairly crowded subgenre.