At last we see this fiendish outfit returning with a blistering second album. Now, for anybody expecting this to be a baby Cradle Of Filth, once again, Dani’s just vocals here; artists are allowed to branch out, y’know? This also started out as something not necessarily quite geared for live touring, if memory serves, but still, the first installment for Devilment was good enough for me to have reasonably high(er) hopes for any follow up. Even if the album is listed as black metal as far as it's category; I tend to disagree with that. If anything I would have to say this steers closer to symphonic death metal, and even then, I hear similarities closer to Avatar, Rammstein, and even Bleeding Through.
From the start, the album comes out of the gate running. Matter of fact, the first three tracks "Judas Stein", "Hitchcock Blonde" and "Under The Thunder" do a brilliant job of showcasing exactly what you should be in for, for the rest of this album. From sound to style, Colin Parks, Nick Johnson and Matt Alston are all top-notch anchors, while Lauren Francis' beautiful voice and arrangement prowess add to create a unique atmosphere for the band. While both "Full Dark, No Stars" and "Shine On Sophie Moone" had great starts and strong finishes, wasn't quite sure what was going on in the middle. Perhaps, like for a few other people, they're those type of tracks you you tend not to get off-the-bat, but later grow really fond of. Still loved them mind you, and it took a few listens, but I got it. Eventually. Simply put, they are like engaging scores to a grand theatre production, in which you don’t get to see the stage/visual part of the proceedings. I think songs like "Life Is What You Keep From The Reaper" (hit written all over this one) and especially "Dea Della Morte" did a better job achieving what they wanted with just one go.
Closing with one of the more stronger tracks for this release is "Hell At My Back", and it’s as grand as the first part of the album. So if anything, when you look at the pool of talent within this band, there's high expectations. Understandably, fine-tuning is a balance, so being the second album it's expected (and to a small degree, allowed). Be assured though, there is a nailing on the head of the right elements here to easily gain loads of new adoring fans, as for those listening from the beginning. With as much sass and style to match the snarls, there's definite wealth in the depths of this album for those who seek it. A firm metal offering from a band barely beginning to tap into the fount of their talents of savage grace.
II: The Mephisto Waltzes Track Listing:
01. Judas Stein
02. Hitchcock Blonde
03. Under The Thunder
04. Full Dark, No Stars
05. Shine On Sophie Moone
06. Life Is What You Keep From The Reaper
07. Dea Della Morte
08. Entangled In Our Pride
09. Hell At My Back