Review: DeVicious – Black Heart
Pride & Joy (April 14th, 2022)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
German melodic rockers DeVicious are back with their fourth album, ‘Black Heart‘, a concept album (of sorts) that serves the dual role of being not just a rock album, but also a soundtrack to the upcoming comic book series ‘Dollhouse DV‘ created by the band. Three of the songs are written for the soundtrack and included here. Admittedly, my knowledge of DeVicious only comes from my best friend who introduced me to the band with their last album ‘Phase Three‘, which surprised me the first time I heard it as I never heard of the band prior to that album. It was such a strong release that I tried to convince him to sell the CD to me, to no avail. That led me to jump at the chance to review their new one.
Bassist/Composer/Main Songwriter/Producer and all-around band leader Alex Frey has crafted an incredible follow-up that will please all who have followed the band thus far and is sure to recruit new followers. Production-wise, the songs are driven equally by both the guitars of Radivoj Petrovic and keyboardist Denis Kunz. Both of them are all over this album, drenching the songs with melodic melodies. Something else that makes the album stand out are the terrific background vocals, which includes the exceptional Michael Bormann and new(ish) TNT lead singer Baol Bardot Bulsara. Those two along with singer Antonio Calanna ensures that every chorus soars on this album.
Let’s talk about the tracks. There’s lots to love here so I’ll start with my personal favorite, ‘Falling’, a perfectly crafted melodic rock song. From the main melody line to the bridge and chorus, it’s a track that makes you want to scream out the chorus. I found myself immediately singing along to the chorus before it was even over, a sure sign of a great song. Title track ‘Black Heart’ has chants of “Na Na Na” in a choral pattern throughout that makes it the most fun chorus to listen to on the album. ‘Heroines’ (the theme song for the ladies featured on the cover) is a stand-out as well. At one point, you think that you’re listening to the chorus, but then come to realize that it’s just a really strong bridge and when the chorus hits, it will knock you back into your seat. Just when you think you’re about to hear a guitar solo, it changes to an almost progressive arrangement and becomes a band instrumental before delving into the traditional guitar solo. Surprises like that are always welcome.
Other great tracks include Track 3’s ‘A Special Mind’, which slows things down slightly after the first two intense tracks, but still retains an element of heaviness. A perfectly placed album track. ‘Welcome The Night’ has the best intro of all the songs on the album. Bassist Alex Frey opens the song with drummer Lars Nippa before other band members join in, building to a crescendo of an opening.
I was only able to review the ten-track version (some additions have two additional bonus tracks), but every song is a winner here. So…any critiques? About the only issue I had was with the song ‘Liar’. It’s a powerful rocking song with great arrangements, but for some reason, Mr. Frey decided to rhyme the word “liar” with “liar”. There’s at least 10 words that could rhyme with “liar”. Rhyming a word with the same exact word is lazy. I point this out because the writing for this album is excellent so this is a bit of a letdown. The song also has a weird fade. After the final chorus, the song goes for a seven second fade, which is far too abrupt.
So how good is this album? It’s the type of album that makes me want to seek out their other albums hoping to hear something similar to what I just heard. I enjoyed ‘Phase Three‘, but this is absolutely a step up from that. One more must have purchase to add to a growing list of superb albums being released this year. Side note – The addition of Michael Bormann on backing vocals is very prominent, so fans of old school Jaded Heart will definitely want to check out this album. The choruses featuring him are reminiscent of that band.