Bible of the Devil

For the Love of Thugs and Fools

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Chicago's Bible of the Devil have been singing heavy metal's praises for quite some time now, actually anticipating the genre's retroactive appreciation among third-millennium headbangers, and then sticking to their workmanlike program even while other, perhaps hipper and trend-savvy bands (Wolfmother, the Sword, etc.) reaped greater financial rewards. 2012's For the Love of Thugs and Fools is the quartet's seventh studio effort, their first in four years (discounting a trio of split singles released in the interim), and segues quite predictably with what came before, without resorting to creative stagnation. In fact, though Iron Maiden's twin guitar harmonies still play a significant part in Bible of the Devil's latest material (see the scorching "Out for Blood" and the Celtic-flavored "Yer Boy," in particular), the quartet appears keen to deliver simpler, more immediate songs here, rather than repeatedly losing themselves in extended galloping passages and instrumental noodling. Cue the moderate tempos, uncluttered arrangements (more space, less riffing overkill), and catchy choruses (bad puns and all) alternately snarled or bellowed by singer Mark Hoffman over tracks like "Sexual Overture/While You Were Away," "Can't Turn off the Sun," and "I Know What (Is Right in the Night," which shockingly features a saxophone solo! Yes, some fans may question the band's wisdom in embracing such obvious classic rock hallmarks (epitomized midway through by the pure Thin Lizzy worship of "Anytime") over the pure metallic thrust of yesteryear, but BotD were due for a little change, even at the risk of producing some weaker material, and you can't always have things both ways. Should the band choose to pursue this direction further, there is definite room for improvement; should they retreat to more familiar ground, their purist-minded fans certainly won't complain -- but in either case, For the Love of Thugs and Fools takes some worthwhile risks that might earn Bible of the Devil a few additional mainstream fans, to boot.

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