Monday 20 May 2024


Washington's Rain Devil, Rollo (vocal/guitar); Gy (drums) and Brent (bass), bring a Northwest American twist to a sub-genre that was birthed in the back streets of the UK's city of Birmingham, we are of course talking about Black Sabbath here and the sub-genre of proto-doom.. Now let's make it clear that we are not suggesting that Rain Devil are another one of the underground rock scenes seemingly ever present Sabbathian sounding bands, far from it, but having said that it is not hard to hear aspects of that proto-doomic sound seeping into some of what Rain Devil bring to the altar table. The bands 2018 debut "The Joyful Apocalypse" was a suitably "joyful" listening experience that in our opinion should have garnered a lot more love than it was eventually afforded, hopefully their latest album "The Witching Hour" will be the album that redresses that imbalance.

It is the album’s title track "The Witching Hour" that kicks things off, the songs chunky onslaught of thunderous riffs and rhythms is infused with fiery lead breaks that border on the edges of bluesy and gritty clean vocals that possess an ear pleasing drawled quality. Next comes "Devil Bird" a song with its roots planted firmly in proto-doomic soil but that also possesses an air of southern swampiness in both its guitar and vocal tones. "Purple Punchcicle" follows, a dank and crunchy instrumental that allows Rollo free reign to live out his guitar god dreams over a backdrop of gnarly arsed groove expertly laid down by Brent and Gy. "In this darkness where the anger bleeds, love and hate burn like autumn leaves" sings Rollo on "Eye Shine" his deep gravid tones accompanied by low grumbling bass and industrial drumming, his bluesy guitar solos enhancing a song thick on atmosphere and tension, qualities that are also to be found in abundance inhabiting its grizzled grainy follow up "The Long Stone". A touch of Seattle grunginess finds its way into the Alice in Chains flavoured "Crawl" while "Shadows in an Empty Room" finds Rain Devil slowing things down and getting melancholic and reflective. Its back to the proto-doom for "Gesture of Hate" a song that sees Brent and Gy laying down a barrage of gnarliness for Rollo to overlay with circular refrains and searing lead guitar, his accompanying vocal tones reflective of the songs title. "Serpents" is up next, a delicious mix of proto and bluesy doom with some nice subtle twists and turns in its gait. Rain Devil break out the acoustic guitars for the gentle instrumental "A Stone's Throw" then go full on galloping doom for final number "Life Without Living" the song a gnarled rant against the vagaries of life sang over a backdrop of fuzz laden guitar riffage, low slung bass motifs and pounding percussion.

 A big shout out should also go out to that guru of all things stoner, doom and heavy rock Tony Reed who mixed and mastered this album to perfection.

Rain Devil deliver with "The Witching Hour" the sort of  gritty doom and hard rock that has seen bands like Texas' Thunder Horse and San Jose's ZED gain international respect, a mix of dank heaviness and bluesy swagger that has the ability to equally hit the sweet spots of both fans of doom and those of a more heavy rock persuasion.
Check it out ...

© 2024 Frazer Jones

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