METAL | Miles Raymer
Bible of the Devil has been a Chicago institution for as long as I've lived here, with a seemingly nonstop show schedule and a devoted audience, drawn equally from metalheads and hard-rock fans, whose particular nostalgia is for the days when Iron Maiden was the biggest thing on earth. For most of the band's career, says guitarist and front man Mark Hoffmann, "People didn't really know if they should call us metal or rock 'n' roll." He's pretty sure their forthcoming sixth album, For the Love of Thugs & Fools (Cruz del Sur), will change that. "I definitely think this is a rock 'n' roll record."
I agree. You can bang your head to a lot of the stuff on Fools—largely due to the rhythm section—but Hoffmann and guitarist Nate Perry indulge their love of tunefulness and dual guitar leads in a way that makes Bible of the Devil's previous albums seem bashful. There's a lot of Thin Lizzy in the hooks and even more in the dual leads, and on "Anytime" Hoffmann's attempt to sound like Phil Lynott crosses an odd line so that he actually sounds like Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, a band that approaches the platonic ideal of rock qua rock.
Hoffmann credits the band's newfound comfort with pop to the time they spent away from recording full-lengths—since the 2008 album Freedom Metal, they've released just three split singles. During those years they matured, and he thinks you can hear it. "It's mainly in the hooks and the more melodic vocals. There's less anger maybe." Getting older has its perks, though. "We're getting better at our instruments too."
Bible of the Devil plays a record-release party Sat 4/28 at Ultra Lounge. Superchrist, one of several projects fronted by local underground metal hero Chris Black, share the bill—and they're celebrating the release of Holy Shit (Hells Headbangers), an album similarly indebted to melodic, shred-friendly 80s metal.