I enjoyed the last album of Sweden's DEVILLE very much, particularly because they banned almost all Queens of The Stone Age influences from their songs. This was a further step into finding an own musical identity and I had hoped that DEVILLE go further down the road, but that's not the case. At least not for me. Their second album 'Hail the Black Sky', again released thru Buzzville Records in 2009 is partly a return back to the band's roots. Fans of Josh Homme will rejoice, but my enthusiasm is rather limited. I really miss the heaviness and darkness of the previous album, but, instead, 'Hail the Black Sky' is mainly packed with Homme's pop sensibilities, associated with the usual light grooves. Here are only two tracks that set themselves apart from most songs: 'Through the Blade' and 'Early Grave' (well, ok, I really like that tricky groove of 'Levitaion' as well). 'Through the Blade' sticks out like a black monolith and reminds me of Goatsnake and, of course, early Black Sabbath.
The groove is irresistible, driven by heavy bluesy riffs while the passionate vocals animate that song with soul. The same applies to the following track 'Early Grave', where DEVILLE shameless reveal their love for Goatsnake. But they do it in a charming way so I can't complain. 'The only thing' is their biggest possible adaption of Brant Bjork's funkyness and I'm not going to deny the band's obvious talent, especially when they start to change the complete song into a psychedelic direction. 'A.K.A.' is an instrumental, only performed on acoustic guitar, before the last song 'Down to me' picks up where the album started. Hm, I wished it weren't so. For me personally, 'Hail the Black Sky' is only an average release, performed by a talented band. Maybe I don't belong to the intended audience. At the end I still ask myself if the first theme of the title track has been borrowed from The Cure...I need to check this within the next days.