The Devil's Blood

III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars

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Leaving as mysteriously as they arrived, the Devil's Blood take a bow with their final album, III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars. Comprised of demo recordings captured in the home studio of guitarist Selim "SL" Lemouchi, the album has a raw, unproduced feeling that, surprisingly, really works, making the album feel more like a lost proto-metal gem from the dollar bin of a record store than the careful work of modern revivalists. With its sparser yet sprawling sound, the album feels more like a testament to the influence bands like Rush and Jethro Tull had on heavy metal than a throwback to the genre's roots in Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, as the massive, multi-part epic "I Was Promised a Hunt" takes listeners on a 22-minute journey that feels like an occult-influenced take on "2112" or "Thick as a Brick." Were it another band trying to do the same kind of ambitious, satanically fueled prog rock, this might be exactly the point where listeners realized that there wasn't much left in the tank. Instead, the Devil's Blood are going out with an album that, while undercooked by their own standards, feels refreshingly raw and back to basics. If the bandmembers hadn't announced their dissolution at the beginning of 2013, III: Tabula Rasa or Death and the Seven Pillars could easily be seen as an exciting change in direction, but since they've made the decision to return to the fiery depths of the underworld from whence they came, the album serves as a fitting swan song that will leave fans wanting more.

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