Friday, August 7, 2009

The Devil and the Sea - Heart Vs. Spine (2008)

The Devil And The Sea – Heart Vs. Spine (Acerbic Noise Development)
By Jay Snyder

February 1, 2008

I'm always chomping at the bit for new Acerbic Noise Development releases. They are one of those labels that dip their hands into more genres than you count but always come out unscathed, much akin to Crucial Blast. After too long of a silence, AND is back with the debut disc from Louisiana's The Devil and the Sea.

I've been excited about this record since I heard the tracks from their demo release. Defining the term "power trio", TDATS trim the fat and get right to the point; meaty, booming sludge rock with well developed riffs, metal tendencies and a dissonant, urban snarl that calls to mind noise-rock's meanest. Dueling, torn larynx screams and shouts round out the verbal side of the band's assault making this an affair that's not for the timid.

The lack of subtlety with the majority of this material is clearly illustrated by ten minute opener "Batwing". Slice n' dice bursts of sludge-y noise-rock initially kick you in the teeth repeatedly until the band latches onto a controlled, hulking doom groove. Slow as sin riffs are punctuated with rollicking, mid-paced pummel that breaks things up appropriately, never allowing boredom to seep in. The overall sleaze and general tuning of the guitars reminds me of 16 at times. That feeling of thick doom simmered in jagged NYC tones hovers like an endless haze over this material.

"Time out for Brimley" (about the almighty Wilford Brimley from what I understand) sets off a series of lethal, shorter tracks that creep forth with the lowdown meanness of Cavity trading shots of Beam with 16. Repetition is key in this track as there's only a handful of riffs utilized but each one hits like a brass knuckle body blow.

That same vibe runs through the veins of "Monolith" and "Tea Pinky", both of which are a bit more driving and less downtrodden. Still the same aesthetic holds true; come up with a small collection of riffs, develop them to perfection and drive them into the listener's skull like a goddamn sledgehammer.

It is with "My Soul is my Abacus" that the band begins to loosen up their attack, expanding mood carefully with a bass heavy, noise tinged opening that sees the discordant textures rapidly interchanging with lurid sludge grooves. Droning, distantly melodic chords ring over the plodding drums that build a wall of sound so full of capillary exploding tension that you'll be glad when release finally comes in the form of their menacing doom swing.

The monstrous title track takes its good old time to unfold before your eyes. This lengthy track gives TDATS a good chance to present their normal attack in its slowest incarnation. Lung scraped screams and nearly sung shouts mangle your ears as the music goes through a metamorphosis from ultra slow sludge, to spacious post-noise, a brief stop in head crush doom rock territory with a final, culminating burst of droning noise-rock thrown in for good measure. An endless void of evil screams, furious explosions of industrial guitar/bass noise and plodding drum smashes finishes off the record in the form of "Abra Cadaver"; an appropriately psychotic mess of ending noise.

Heart vs. Spine is a triumph of a debut record from start to finish and a great way to jumpstart 2008 for AND. Everything about this release just punishes the senses with thick, memorable songwriting nailing it all together. TDATS are a tight unit in every aspect musically with an ability to go from lean violent attacks to expansive, lengthier dirges without losing a bit of their edge and ferocity. I think this is a band that everyone is going to be hearing a lot about in the near future. They've got all the chops needed to set the underground circuit on fire. Imagine a brutal crossbreed of Cavity, 16, Unsane, Dazzling Killmen with just a slight pinch of early Mastodon and you'll have an approximate mental portrait of the kind of damage this act dishes out. Beautiful, full color art rounds out this total package with a design that calls to mind John Dyer Baizley's warped style but with a decreased emphasis on the grotesque. Heart vs. Spine is highly recommended on all counts. - taken from

Let me just add, this album ROCKS. I listen to it quite often.

Track Listing:

Mastered by Sanford Parker (Pelican/Minsk/Rwake)
2.Time Out For Brimley03:53
4.Tea Pinky04:01
5.My Soul Is My Abacus06:44
6.Heart Vs. Spine14:28
7.Abra Cadaver17:36
Total playing time01:00:08



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  1. Holy shit, this really does rock!

  2. somehow i managed to miss out this gem when it was posted on the swamp, good thing i like to explore new blogs...thanks!

  3. Looks cool, as does this blog. Thanx


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