Getting Better with Age featuring Devil Sold His Soul @ G2, Glasgow
I’ve already photographed and written about Devil Sold His Soul this year. They were playing their incredible debut record, "A Fragile Hope", in full with current vocalist Paul Green and previous vocalist Ed Gibbs sharing vocal duties. It was magical.
Devil Sold His Soul are an acquired taste. The music is part hulking, visceral post-hardcore and part cinematic, brooding post-rock. But neither of those parts is really big enough to give them a foot firmly in either camp. They’re not so much straddling the divide as inhabiting the wasteland between those two sounds.
I love that they stand apart like that. I adore how they move from unnerving and delicate melodicism to enormous, crushing musical crescendos and take their time to get there. If I was crass I’d compare it to musical foreplay, but obviously, I’m not that guy…
This gig was a little different though. The band are still maintaining their dual vocal dynamic but this time they aren’t headlining. They’re supporting Sikth: titans of technical metal. Devil Sold His Soul’s brand of expansive heavy music is in pretty stark contrast to the densely packed chaos of Sikth.
This also wasn’t an exercise in nostalgia. Of course, a couple of choice cuts from the classic album mentioned earlier made an appearance, but this time they also applied their current (and potentially continuing?) dual vocal attack to a range of songs across the band’s back catalogue. A pertinent reminder that this band have always been brilliant, even when fewer people were paying attention.
The result? A real elevation of the material. Not just because of the trading off between two totally distinct voices, but because these songs were running high on a new life. I’ve seen this band pretty much every time they’ve played Glasgow since around 2007. These last two shows, and the small amount of their set I caught at ArcTanGent this year were on another level.
Whether it’s the return of Ed to the band, the celebration of their past material, or the fact this band are totally free to do everything on their own terms, these gigs and that joy for the music and performance shows. It’s a reminder of the kind of shows that made you fall in love with music this loud in the first place.
Even being reduced to a single guitar line-up tonight doesn’t stop this band sound anything short of huge. The sound like they’re playing in some sort of epic landscape, but they stomp, jump and throw their instruments around like they’re in a tightly packed hardcore show. It’s just a shame that the show was so under-attended. But Glasgow crowds are becoming notoriously terrible at turning out at the best of times, never mind a Sunday in December.
It’s only in the last couple of years that the UK has started to realise it has the best rock bands in the world. Bar none. But this isn’t new, its just more people are, quite rightly paying attention now. Bands like Devil Sold His Soul have been flying that flag for years, and it’s a real shame they never quite managed to find their audience.
But if this is the future for bands: day jobs that allow the time and flexibility to do choice tours, release great albums and merch and play shows as great as this I’m on board with that. The industry is sick. It bleeds bands dry and gives nothing back. I say we kill the old way and start a new way.
Maybe then we’ll get more bands as dedicated to their craft as Devil Sold His Soul are.