Originally written by Jordan Campbell
‘Twas quite a few years ago (six, roughly) that Bible of the Devil made a significant splash with Tight Empire – a wild-eyed, brass-knuckled dose of ragged rock n’ roll. Furious burners like “Shit To Pimp,” “Kicking Birth,” “Fuckin’ A,” and “Born In Jail” were bursting with band’s superfresh take on the classic jams of yore. However, as the band set the stage for domination with this sophomore album, there was fear that they had simultaneously torched it down. Much of BotD’s charm was predicated on the way they delivered their attack: half-drunk and staggering, stumblecharging with a broken bottle in one hand and a fistful of leather in the other. Subsequent releases, namely Brutality Majesty Eternity and The Diabolic Procession, saw an unwelcome maturity worm its way into the band’s psyche, and the more refined, semi-sober incarnation of the Bible was decidedly less appealing. Certainly, a few quality tunes were born, but the threat of lunatic headcharge had waned considerably as the band’s instrumental proficiency increased.
Freedom Metal, as the name implies, loosens the reins and unleashes the fuckin’ beast once again. As a unit, these Chicagoans are still growing wiser and tighter, but they’ve taken to needlejacking adrenaline as if it were as commonplace as the shwag-cloud that haunts their denim jackets. The spirit is strong within this one; from the first glance at the highway-bombing cover art to the initial bebop riffrush that opens “Hijack The Night”, this thing is screaming “career benchmark, motherfuckers.” This is the band’s definitive work thus far, and the fact that it toes the ultra-derivative/blissfully vibrant line so confindently only serves to underscore the waggishness.
The album plays out like a series of tributes, but only upon analysis. At first toke, this is simply rip-roaring, hair-in-the-wind, old-school glory, delivered with a crackling energy that excites as much as it (chemically) sedates. The vocals usually hover in a less Bon Scott-ish Bon Scott range, snarling and crooning with cartoonish charm. Nate Perry and Mark Hoffman’s twin guitar attack flirts with noodleage at every opportunity, sneaking away from gritty riffitude deftly and frequently. And, per custom, Darren Amaya’s bass work is some of the ass-shakingest in the business. When this band is pulsing through your car speakers and the road trip daydreams start to take hold, these basslines are the stuff of Jager-soaked rockstar fantasies. As a whole, the band is too busy shooting fireworks into your eardrums to get caught up in the fact that many of their songs are outright identity-jackings, but when that realization hits, the real fun begins.
“Night Oath,” owner of one of the crunchiest verse riffs on the record, also gets painted with Paul Stanley’s thickest lipstick when the chorus hits. “The Turning Stone” will have you belting out the lyrics to “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” within seconds, before the band lays down an infectious chorus of its own. And “Ol’ Girl,” one of the best songs written in the last 5 years, is so gloriously laden with Thin Lizzy-isms that it’s nearly criminal. Words can’t really justify how awesome this song is; from the simple-yet-profoundly honest lyrics to the liberal soloing that plasters itself all over the second half, this embodies everything that is great about rock itself. This is the jam that you pump through your Walkman at age 12, dreaming that one day you’ll be old enough, savvy enough, cool enough to write something this wistful and iconic about your life and be able to share it with others.
The tired saying definitely applies: Bible of the Devil may sound like a lot of things, but nothing sounds quite like Bible of the Devil. Fire it up.