Oddly, heavy metal and religion have long been linked. Bands like Black Sabbath evoke religious imagery with their names; Dio did so with album titles like Holy Diver. Some bands conjure up religion in both their name and album title. Indianapolis quartet Devil to Pay is one of those accomplished few. These long-haired metal heads have recently released their debut album, Thirty Pieces of Silver, an allusion to the amount of money Judas received to turn Jesus in, on Benchmark Records.
With loud distorted guitars, crashing drums and deep, dreary vocals, Devil to Pay is metal through and through, which is also their problem. There is nothing special or innovative about this band.
In fact, when you listen to Thirty Pieces of Silver you'll swear you've heard it before. Power chords rip through most of the tracks, repeating hooky riffs that drive the song. Guitar solos, like the one in "Angular Shapes" and "Tractor F--in' trailer," are quick, trite, screams of high notes, lasting no more than 20 seconds.
The album's first song, ~- and one of the two best - is "Mouthful of Spite," an instrumental that paves the way for something new and interesting. The next three tracks are bland, sounding very much like "Mouthful" but with lyrics on top. Excitement doesn't return until the apocalyptic "Lowest Common Denominator," which is perhaps the other `best' song the album.
Devil to Pay follows the heavy metal formula to a `T' and creates something purists will love. But if their goal is to truly "erode the shoreline of uninspired corporate rock that has plagued the airwaves for so long," as their press material claims, they will need to come up with something a little more original than this.