Album Review – Blue Stahli – The Devil (2015)

Availability: YouTube (via Blue Stahli’s official YouTube), FiXT Store, iTunes, Spotify

Not long after the reveal of Not Over ‘Til We Say So in Feburary 2015, Brett Autrey confirmed there would be no chapter three of The Devil but instead the official album, which was unveiled in October 2015, which was not long followed by a commentary and instrumental adaptations. In addition to the tracklist of the previous chapters, and isolated singles – which I covered in Features of the Days (Armageddon, Not Over ‘Til We Say So), the tracklisting of the completed release included Rockstar, Shoot ‘em Up, The Devil, You’ll Get What’s Coming – this being the second duet, and the first with Mark Salomon of the bands Stavesacre and The Crucified, and the end track Demon.

Rockstar incorporates a lot of instrumental techniques similar to the likes of Marilyn Manson’s (m)Obscene  from The Golden Age of Grotesque (2001), giving a playful air distinct from the remainder of the undertone of the album, presumably mockingly celebrating the chaos committed by the antagonistic protagonist, unapologetically acknowledging the character for the villain that they are.

Shoot ‘em Up was interestingly inspired by a true mass shooting that took place in Germany, on 23rd November 2009, the crime committed by Charlie Brooker – this song alone, accompanied by The Devil which is in itself like a confessionary piece, encompasses the true nature of Brett Autrey’s entire The Devil project, from start to finish as I previously pointed out in the review of the first extended plays last year. It addresses how human beings have become the creature, or supernatural entity we fear the most, that we try and run away from but always find the outcome inescapable. Or to be more simplistic, that we are the creature; what the Devil represents is only a projection of the darkness that we struggle with from day to day, as we both darkness and light within ourselves, and it always come to what part of us is fed.

Similar to Ready, Aim, Fire (originally featured on The Devil: Chapter 1, 2013), You’ll Get What’s Coming leans heavier to the electronic genre, with extended element of rap-rock with the usage of hip-hop; this is not surprising as electronic rock is the prototype for a lot of the later experimentation on what would become rap-rock and rap metal, which didn’t emerge until the 1980s, and nu-metal, a 1990s emergence.  The song relays on a karma-like situation, where an event that the character in this narrative is to face the consequences of their actions.

The song Demon finishes the album in the fashion of modernized country, with the inclusion of harder instrumentation on the drums, and guitars. It gives the illusion that the narrative is coming to the end with the titular character trying to escape the law, if not themselves in an outback setting with the forewarning that they, like ourselves will not be the last to have the potential to act on our potential darkness.

As a whole, the album is extraordinarily complex and controversial in its chosen subject, and after the two year build up before it all settled together, Brett Autrey has given the listener a brilliant piece. Unlike his self-titled album in 2011, which in its entirety was narratively disturbing, The Devil surpasses that only because it’s sinister closeness to home, with the potential to disturb the comfortable, and comfort the disturbed.

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