How serious should you take a band that employs perfect double F alien bombs as a marketing ploy? The obvious answer is, of course, very. The response is further affirmed by the sheer strength of the variegated stoner rock gleaned from A Bend Through Space and Time, the excellent fifth full- length release from Indiana’s Devil to Pay.
Steered by the resplendent vocal work of guitarist Steve Janiak, a man who also helms rad doomers Apostle of Solitude, Devil to Pay are a quartet that evoke any number of bands over the duration of A Bend Through Space and Time, yet still manage to create and maintain a sound and style that seems and feels so incontrovertibly their own.
The group performs up and down the stoner rock/metal highway, making pit-stops to fuel up with hard-chargers like the Motorhead-inspired “Your Inner Lemmy” or the Pearl Jam-meets- Down “Recommended Daily Dosage” when they aren’t rolling doobies behind 7-Eleven with crunchy groove cuts like “The Meaning of Life” or the album highlight “Kobold in the Basket.”
For a band of such grungy temperament, Devil to Pay wield a finesse lost on many of their counterparts, with smooth jams like “Don’t Give Away the World” and “Laughingstock” playing out like something from a Dax Riggs project, a comparison helped by Janiak’s naturally rich and soulful singing.
Of course, the band entire deliver the goods with swagger to spare, coolly meandering through the hazy plumes of “Knuckledragger” or the record’s monster closer “The Demons Come Home to Roost.” While the fuzzy underground still houses its fair share of talented Kyuss, Orange Goblin, and Black Sabbath offshoots, it’s refreshing to hear a stoner rock band branch out and go in a different, more diverse, and less predictable direction.
Devil to Pay may not have the biggest beards or the most Orange amps, and they may not drink as much craft beer as the next touring band, but that’s okay, because they just may be the best stoner band you’ve never heard of.
(released August 12, 2016 on Ripple Music)