Rhapsody Radar 2012 #4: Bible of the Devil
Welcome to the 2012 edition of Rhapsody Radar, our annual survey of 25 up-and-coming artists we love, from hip-hop to indie rock, trad country to stoner metal, Latin pop to EDM. Every weekday for the next month or so we'll be unveiling a new name. Enjoy.
The Windy City dudes in Bible of the Devil seamlessly work lush Thin Lizzy- (and sometimes even Jethro Tull-) reminiscent twin-guitar (sometimes even -cello) interplay into overdriven, punk'n'rolling, Motorhead-style blitz-metal; they've been doing it since 1999, but more people seem to be noticing lately. The creatively rip-roaring heavy rock quartet's sixth and newest album, For the Love of Thugs & Fools, feels like a breakthrough even though they had to get an Italian label called Cruz Del Sur to put it out. Import, schmimport: They've been touring America's midsection in support of it regardless.
Hoarse-yelling Mark Hoffmann has always had a wit -- perhaps on best display on 2005's Brutality Majesty Eternity, one of the past decade's great lost rock albums, notably in the super-catchy and eventually a cappella white-powder lament "Cocaine Years, Cocaine Tears"; the cuckolded "Hey Joe" update "Murder Red"; the early AC/DC knockoff "Night Wraith"; and the epic if unfortunately titled three-part, 12-minute folk-metal chantey "Sea of Rape"/"The Eternity." The Diabolic Procession from 2006 was a concept record based on the Children's Crusades, and the title of 2008's Freedom Metal totally evoked late-night mullet-rock infomercials.
The website Encyclopaedia Metallum figures the foursome's lyrics mainly revolve around "historical tales, drugs, kicking ass," all of which certainly make appearances on For the Love Of. But their primary theme nowadays extracts heroism from mundane urban-male nightlife, making their down-to-earth vocal congestion oddly apt -- especially with high harmonies to help. The album rules in Lizzy mode -- blatantly in "Anytime," subtly in "Yer Boy" (who's "come back into town," get it?). But '70s Kiss and Chicago predecessors Urge Overkill are reference points too, and for a bonus, there's a noisy sax solo from Yakuza's Bruce Lamont on "I Know What Is Right (In the Night)". Once you've heard it, you'll know, too.