Everything was going perfectly at Hevy fest until….
The atmospheric element of Devil Sold His Soul’s records has always been of huge importance to their sound, bringing a breathtaking depth to tracks – and as they are preceded onto the stage by a crowd-hyping opening, later joined by a soaring guitar in signature DSHS tone, even at this early stage it’s impossible to deny that this is also true of their live show.
It takes the band very little time to assert themselves on stage, boasting phenomenal presence and co-ordination to bring energy to the proceedings. Big riffs are matched by big headbangs from floor and stage alike. That’s right – Devil Sold His Soul’s guitar-wielders have mastered the art that is headbanging without their accuracy suffering, an impressive feat indeed!
Even before the half-way point of the set, everyone present is forced to accept Ed Gibbs’s mastery of both clean and scream, another of the band’s strengths, as we are led through an ambient tunnel of brilliantly executed guitar lines and thunderous drumming.
Perhaps the ambient element of Devil Sold His Soul’s sound comes through better on record, but no-one is complaining with plentiful moshing, crowd-surfing and singing along making for one of the liveliest crowds of the day. In particular, there is a nugget of fans in the thick of it that look to be having an absolute whale of a time, roaring and jumping about at every opportunity.
This is encouraging for a band who are quite a bit slower paced than a lot of the aggressive, racy hardcore billed today – their more prog influenced position breaks up the day in terms of style, though they retain the unrelenting energy you might expect of a hardcore act while embracing the atmosphere of more mellow sections.
This is pure spectacle, so much so that one viewer close to me lit a cigarette only for it to burn down Girl, Interrupted style as he was so fixated by the performance. Towards the beginning of the set I found myself thinking about how this would be even better in a smaller venue – but by the end I was forced to eat my words. Songs such as new single ‘A New Legacy’ are ready to take on any size of crowd.
Then, coming to the end of a great set, disaster strikes. “This is our last song”, announces Ed. We’re treated to the opening guitar line of what I suspect was ‘Darkness Prevails’, before the sound is promptly cut off. The most hotly-debated element of this year’s Hevy fest, the dual-stage-in-one-tent setup, has turned on one of the better sets and cost Devil Sold His Soul their big finish.
There’s booing from the crowd, the band look disappointed and Ed tries to get his mic sound switched back on to thank and apologise to the audience, but Hevy are having none of it. They wander sheepishly off as the other stage bursts into life.
I, for one am absolutely gutted that this is how a damn fine set was concluded. It’s a highlight of the festival, but a marred one to be remembered with a heavy heart.Devil Sold His Soul