Devil Sold His Soul at The Cellar (16/10/2013)

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Devil Sold His Soul is a highly regarded post-hardcore band that was formed from the remains of Mahumodo, one of the pioneering bands of the sub-genre. Since 2004 they have released three albums and one EP, with plans for a fourth album next year. Their music ranges from heavy, head-banging guitar riff driven songs to cerebral, ambient tracks with a more airy feel (though their latest album, Empire of Light, veers heavily towards the latter). ‘No Regrets, No Remorse’ is the band’s first tour after the departure of vocalist Ed Gibbs, who has since been replaced by Paul Green.

The night opened with Parallaxis coming onstage at 8.30pm, a local band who formed at Southampton Solent University. While the vocalist was very active as a stage presence and confident enough to interact with the crowd, the rest of the band seemed awkwardly static. They received a fairly tepid reaction from the crowd, which eventually developed into polite applause between songs and a smattering of half-hearted moshing every so often. Their sound was vaguely reminiscent of Asking Alexandria, but with slightly less interesting guitars and slightly more interesting electronic elements. Overall, it was a pleasing set.

Next on the bill at 9.15pm was Palm Reader, (check out our interview with them here) a relatively new post-hardcore band from just outside London. While musically they were perhaps the blandest of the four bands, their stage presence was worlds away from the wooden, static performance of Parallaxis. The band spent the duration of their set whirling and thrashing around the stage like chaotic dervishes, laying waste to the microphone stands and at one point nearly taking out a spotlight with an ill-advised overheard guitar flourish. While their music lacks enough unique characteristics to make it anything more than agreeable, their raucous behaviour on stage was more than compensatory.

At 9.45pm, We Butter the Bread with Butter trouped onto the stage, prompting the liveliest, most positive reaction of the evening so far. Opening with ‘Pyroman & Astronaut’, the band went on to play a selection of songs from across their three albums. They employed the use of some creative lighting for their show including a gauntlet with LED lights on each of the fingers which created mesmerising patterns on the ceiling as. When they were finished, a sizable chunk of the crowd left the venue; they had come out that evening just to see the band play a half hour set. WBTBWB’s show was certainly divisive. I thought it was the best of the evening in terms of overall entertainment value but it was clear that a few others in the room disliked the German band. We Butter the Bread with Marmite perhaps?

At 10.15pm, Devil Sold His Soul began their show. Their recital of ‘Time’, their most recent single, was a strong performance and was the closest thing to actual new material on the set. Elsewhere, Green proved that he could match his predecessor with excellent clean and growled vocals in ‘End of Days’ amongst the other tracks on the set list that spanned their discography.  The variety of songs on offer made it feel like they were trying to show the fans that Green is a worthy successor to Gibbs and capable of performing anything in the band’s repertoire. He certainly is; he is at least as as good as Gibbs and worthy of the fans’ respect. Green in particular looked very glad to be on stage as he belted out his vocals to an enthralled crowd.

Although it was a very positive gesture to book local bands as support acts on the ‘No Regrets, No Remorse’ tour, it did severely limit the amount of time that the supports had on stage. Just as I was getting acquainted with their music and starting to enjoy myself, their sets would end. I would rather there be two supporting bands with 45 and 60 minute slots than three with 30 minutes each. It also increased the downtime for stage setup significantly. Regardless, it was a fantastic, wild night in a venue perfectly sized for the kind of bands on the stage.

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