DeVICIOUS – Reflections

About a year ago, I got a download-link for reviewing purposes by this German based Melodic Rock act’s (that I wrongly put in the AOR folder) debut album Never Say Never. Style-wise, their brand of Melodic Rock with AOR twists is right up my alley but there was something about DeVicious’ debut album that made sure it didn’t stick. Sure, there was some really good songs on it but over-all it felt like I had heard them a million times before. To be honest, I thought DeVicious were the kind of band that would release an album and then disappear never to be heard from again so guess my surprise when another DL-link with their second album had found its way to my letter-box less than a year later. As I found some potential in both the band themselves and the songs they had written I was curious to find out if they had developed in that year or if they simply had written and produced – because the light-weight production was an issue for me as well – the debut album all over again.

Opening track and leading single “Long Way Home” tells me that they have improved their sound and moved forward. It’s still Melodic Rock we’re talking about but this upbeat rocker also brings on some chugging Metal-influenced guitar-riffing along with quite a punchy rhythm and big melodies that makes you hum along by first listen. With a huge refrain as the icing on the cake, the tune is a winner. Well done! Second single “Never Let You Go” features a duet with Ammunition / ex- Wig Wam singer Åge-Sten Nilsen and to my ears, this is a hit. Upbeat, big on 80’s sounding keyboards, a stompy groove and a huge refrain that will have you singing it for days afterwards. If Melodic Rock from the mid 80’s is your thing, you’ll love this. I know I do. “Understand” is an in-your-face, very Scandinavian sounding AOR-stomper with a bouncy rhythm and it rocks with a good live-feel. It’s not as immediate as the previous two but still a good song.

Uptempo and quite poppy, “Desire” is a time-machine back to 1987 when it comes to structure and melody arrangements. But it’s also quite rhythmic, a bit crunchy with an edge and on top of that a chorus with a million hooks. If this isn’t a future single someone’s doing something wrong. Great stuff. “Hungarian Girl” on the other hand, is a mix of AOR and Pop with a huge mid 80’s feel both musically and lyrically. It’s quite catchy but here the clichés are stapled on each other and it gets too cheesy for comfort. Not bad but nothing that really moves me either. Starting with a very catchy keyboard riff, “Flying” then brings on a laid-back verse before the song turns both faster and punchier. However, the promises of the catchy keyboard riff isn’t fulfilled by the streamlined chorus that never lifts and in the end the song only goes in one ear and out the other.

“Saturday Night” is a bit more raunchy and the tune is on the heavier side of Melodic Rock but still with lots of hooks and a memorable refrain. But again, it’s too lyrically underwhelming with every cliché available which makes the song both cheesy and infantile. I mean, naming a song “Saturday Night”!! C’mon already. It doesn’t suck but doesn’t go all the way either. On a big Hard Rock groove, the upbeat “We’re Dying” is a striking Melodic Rock tune, hook-laden and very, very catchy. The chorus is in a slower pace but both punchy and addictive. Another stellar tune with lots of hit-potential. Another future single, please. “Run Together” is also in mid-tempo but after the verse is done and pre-chorus and chorus hows up, the tune gets faster and tries to rough things up  a bit. Style-wise, this one is comparable to modern-day Hardline with a mix of Melodic Hard Rock and AOR. Another one that sticks right after the first spin – a good one.

The Scandinavian AOR/Melodic Rock influences shows up again in “Feel The Heat”, an uptempo rocker that holds a groove that makes it stage-friendly. The chorus reminds me of British AOR-rockers Ten albeit with a really good singer and more in-your-face. Catchy and direct, the chorus is another one of those that glues itself to the brain. Very good. The song that differs the most is closing ballad “Manhattan Memories”. It’s uptempo but melancholic with a major Pop-feel mixed with American West-Coast and very little Rock. Smooth and soft with a romantic touch, the tune could be used in a romantic comedy movie of some kind. It’s ok, but I’m not floored. As a bonus track you’ll also get the radio-edit of single “Never Let You Go”, but it’s pointless as there’s hardly any difference to the original track, at least not what I could hear.

Style-wise, not much has changed compared to the debut. It’s still Melodic Rock with AOR turns but it’s a bit heavier. What strikes me, though, is that everything is bettered on this album – the quality of the songs, the performances and last but not least, the production. Where the debut brought on an almost DIY vibe, this one sounds way more professional with a bigger and more beefy outlook. But what they need to work on is to get rid of the clichés lyrically and to make sure they reduce the filler tracks to a minimum and also more importantly, to work on an identity because the truth is, DeVicious still sound too much like a thirteen-a-dozen Melodic Rock band. It also needs to be mentioned that this album hadn’t been out for long when Serbian singer Zoran “Mister Sanders” Sandorov announced that he was leaving the band in the midst of their ongoing tour with Ammunition. The result of that remains to be seen.

6/10

More DeVicious reviews:

Never Say Never

Tracklist:

1. Long Way Home
2. Never Let You Go
3. Understand
4. Desire
5. Hungarian Girl
6. Flying
7. Saturday Night
8. We’re Dying
9. Run Together
10. Feel The Heat
11. Manhattan Memories
12. Never Let You Go (Radio Edit)