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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
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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Thirty Pieces Of SilverDevil To Pay
2003
Eric Compton5/16/2004


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