The caustic beauty which snarls and permeates every pore within The Devil And His Footmen shows that Beehoover in the three years between albums have not lost any of their corrosive charm and raw passion. The new eight track album is a cacophonous blaze of rock which draws on a wealth of flavours and noise bred enterprise building upon and expanding beyond the stoner doom presence of 2010 album Concrete Catalyst. Never resting and perpetually pushing the senses and thoughts of the listener, the album is Beehoover at their niggling best.
The German duo of vocalist/bassist Ingmar Petersen and drummer/vocalist Claus-Peter Hamisch, defy or straddle genres depending how you look at it with their rhythmic invention and exploration, their conjuring as seductive and narrative friendly as any line-up of instruments. The pair from Esslingen formed the band in 2003 initially with the intent to have a ‘regular’ set up in the band, but unable to find musicians able to compliment the carnivorous unique bass sound of Petersen they remained a the duo and released the A Mirror is a Window’s End EP in 2005. Debut album The Sun Behind The Dustbin followed two years later before Heavy Zooo in 2008 and then Concrete Catalyst especially started an intensive hunger for the band’s sounds in the widest appetites. As those before The Devil And His Footmen is released via Exile on Mainstream and provides a new ruin of noise which is impossible to refuse.
The steep thick walls of Monolith open up the release, bass and drums casting an wonderful unclean breath over the ears. There is no avoiding the pungent dark feel of the sound and its shadows, the guttural groan of the bass and crisp cage of rhythms unbothered by light and sun yet creating an engagement which is just as hearty if intimidating. The vocals of Petersen equally have no caressing arms to explore with but employ a direct and transfixing delivery which does remind of another but escapes recognition. The stoner groove of the song is a potent lure within the rapacious call of the track, and all combined it makes for a towering start to the release.
The following Egoknights and Firearks provides formidable back-up to the opener; it teasing with an almost folky swagger in its chorus which interrupts the riveting grind of the bass and enslaving drum bait, whilst its successor Rooftop moves through an evocative landscape with a reflective centre between extensive bookends of a sludge/ seventies rock mesh. The second of the two does not quite match the heights of the first two but leaves thoughts and imagination alive with their adventure with the pair of musicians sculpting provocative scowling scenery.
Boy vs. Tree instantly hypnotises through a welcoming tribal rhythmic beckoning, an invitation which cores the whole track. Vocals and bass soon colour in between the framework of rhythmic veining from Hamisch, their hues rough and thoroughly compelling. A post punk temptation latches onto the invention as well to add extra entrapment whilst as the song fuels the passions thoughts have a sense of Pere Ubu to certain aspects of the track. The best moment of the album, it is seriously challenged by next up Morning Sun which almost dances around the senses with its snarling tonic of enterprise and flesh stripping acerbic intensity. The riff which sends the track towards its climax just seals the deal for ardour and completes a simply sirenesque call of a song.
Between the tracks there are varied instrumental interludes which reveal their own smouldering breaths to add to the overall venture of the album, all showing the craft and skill of both men in pushing their creative limits with merely bass and drums, though in the hands of these gentlemen merely is nowhere near fair. Through the grizzly predacious Dear Mammoth and the unpredictable and again grouchy My Mixtapes Suck Big Time band and album continues to hold attention and emotions in their hands whilst the closing Honeyhole explores its own unique journey, a slow peaceful welcome building in stature and intensity as it heads adventurously to an explosive climax, heavy grooved rock with doom weight and intensity providing the closing confrontation.
The Devil And His Footmen is an album which is probably not for everyone; its rawness and tempestuous appetite for noise and honest but abrasive invention food for a certain sort hunger, but once united Beehoover provides a striking and invigorating intrusion you only want more of.
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