Bible of the Devil

Firewater at My Command

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Bible of the Devil's second studio full-length appears on the tiny Grand Forks, ND, imprint Genuflect, which also features work from types like Straphanger and the mysterious Imipolex G, whose farewell album is called A Push and a Shove and the Land Is Ours. This is an appropriate den for BOD to call home, for the Chicago band makes the kind of dangerous sound you don't want greeting you when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. We've all seen the movie, right? A crappy rental with a busted head gasket sits dormant on the gravel parkway of a rural route; 300 yards away, a grain elevator looms in the darkness and the far-off hum of the interstate is the only sound for miles. But then it's there, where once it was not. Are those guitars? The sound transforms from a tinny rattle to a throaty, hyperspeed roar as a rustbucket Ford pickup with a lifted suspension and no headlights tears out of the gloom and screeches to a stop next to your dead rental vehicle. In the rig's payload is an enormous speaker cabinet blasting some of the most overdriven rock & roll to arrive since the American heartland heard British heavy metal. Next to that sits a hill of a man in a handlebar moustache and square toe boots. And he's holding out his hand. The sound making your ears bleed is Bible of the Devil's Firewater at My Command, an album that's as serious about song titles like "Drinkin' the Pay" and "Jet Engine Orchestra" as it is about trading solos, ripping drums, and screeching vocals that are nearly unintelligible, but always get their point across. On tracks like "Tomahawkin'," mouth/guitar player Amp Reed seems to be emulating Bruce Dickinson. But what's this? The Iron Maiden vocalist's trademark howl is harnessed in by the choppy, lurching instrumentation, which doesn't want to shake its Midwestern punk influences. "King of the Britains" is more anthemic, but it too wears its influences like a leather vest over a gaping knife wound. No matter -- you'll gladly sop up the spilled blood with your shirt if these guys will let you drink with them after the show. It sounds like Reed and fellow guitarist Viet Claus are harmonizing on the line "Put your head on a plate." But you can't worry about that right now, because it's all you can do to hold onto the speaker cabinet as the old Ford hurdles down the highway at 100 mph, carrying you further and further away from that dead rental car. It's time to genuflect, and believe in Bible of the Devil.

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