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Devil: Gather The Sinners

Norewgian retro demonism with a hollow heart

While the idiotic notion that metal surrendered its soul as the 90s dawned does little more than pander to pointless tribalism, there is still a lot to be said for bands like Devil and their slavish devotion to ancient principles.

Unfortunately, they have thus far cowered in the shadow of more inventive and imaginative kindred spirits and while Gather The Sinners is plainly the strongest thing the Norwegians have produced to date, it’s hard to ignore the fact that this painstaking paean to heavy rock’s occult past adds nothing new to a tried and tested revisionist template.

It doesn’t help that frontman Joakim Transgrud lacks the mystique and malevolence to make songs like Restless Wanderer sound like more than perfunctory exercises in box-ticking. Devil earn top marks for authenticity, and there’s something engaging about the cardboard box drums and analogue guitar tones that strive to evoke the spirit of Pentagram’s early works, but the overall impact is deadened by an overriding air of style over substance.