"Cash Is King"

(Lax Wax)

01. Kill Everything
02. Little Horns
03. Shake Hands With Death
04. So Low
05. Belial
06. Born To Rue
07. Swallow the Fish
08. The Mountain Comes To Me
09. The Bottom Line
10. A King's Bounty
11. Over the Coals
12. Ripped From Your Womb
13. Yggdrasil
14. Nifelheim

RATING: 7/10

Stoner to the core, wielding riffs like the hammers of Thor and trading in soulful grooves big enough to drive semis through, Indianapolis's DEVIL TO PAY make a big leap forward on this, their second album. Not content to mimic the genre's conventions, the band wander a little beyond the standard fuzz-rock clichés, while retaining the stuff we like about it (gargantuan guitar tone, massive low end, primal yowl vocals).

For the most part, DEVIL TO PAY keep things slower and doomier, maintaining a catchy groove as they lurch through dynamic riff-rockers like "Kill Everything" and the monstrous "Swallow the Fish". Mainman Steve Janiak has a melodic howl that recalls John Garcia (KYUSS) and early, drugged-up Steven Tyler duking it out in 1989-era Seattle. On more standard fare, like the slow and pulverizing "The Mountain Comes To Me", they wring maximum pathos from some deceptively simple riffing, hammering home the song with leaden doom blooze and weighty, agonized vocals. "Ripped From Your Womb" may borrow a little from CORROSION OF CONFORMITY mega-riff "Heaven's Not Overflowing", but its head-shaking midtempo boogie shuffle is undeniably rockin'.

But check out the positively funky "A King's Bounty" for a bold, confident vocal line that transcends the whole "stoner rock" thing pretty handily. The riffs are there, sure, but it's that soaring chorus that'll be stuck in your head for weeks. This song leaves some nice breathing room, too, a classic case of knowing when not to play, giving drummer Chad Prifogle a little space for his efficient groove.

While DEVIL TO PAY are enjoyable even when mining familiar ground, it's songs like this that point to a bright and unrestricted future for the band. Fans of everyone from CROWBAR to KYUSS to early-to-mid SOUNDGARDEN will dig the hell out of what these guys are doing. "Cash Is King" is a snapshot of a band, already really, really good at what they do, taking their first confident steps out from under the shadow of their influences and realizing that the sky's the limit. Good, satisfying stick-to-the-ribs riff rock, well worth your time.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).