By Gruesome Greg
Indianapolis’ longest-running stoner/doom band is not The Gates of Slumber, nor Apostle of Solitude. Rather, leaning slightly more towards the stoner side of things—and going on strong for a little more than a decade — Devil to Pay has returned with their fourth full-length album, and first for Ripple Music.
Fate is Your Muse doesn’t exactly begin on a happy note, with “Prepare to Die” offering up the doom and gloom, not unlike TGOS, albeit at a (slightly) faster pace than the latter’s more recent output. “Wearin’ You Down” is equally bleak, but a bit blusier, the stoner grooves of the band’s earlier work blending in with the down-tempo ringing notes and melancholic wails.
The seven-minute “Yes Master” takes things down another notch, a nice slow burn that delivers decent doomy riffs and an ongoing sense of longing. There’s maybe a little bit of grunge in here, like the Melvins or maybe Mudhoney, particularly in the vocal department—but otherwise, this song is about as trad-doom as some of their more celebrated Circle City counterparts. The album title gets name-dropped in the chorus of “Already Dead,” a much shorter song that punches above its weight (in super slow-motion).
“This Train Won’t Stop” doesn’t slow things down, this one rolling along at a steady clip, somewhat akin to Lo-Pan perhaps, or maybe even High on Fire, minus Matt Pike’s sludgy snarl. I do dig the boogie shuffle section when they hit the brakes just past the halfway mark, mind you. Meanwhile, “The Naked Truth” is pure Kyuss worship—not that it’s a bad thing—while “Mass Psychosis” also offers echos of Garcia, Homme and co.
Alas, after lifting spirits with some more upbeat desert grooves, they bring things back down for grand finale “Beyond the Ether” with a devastating doom riff of Vitusean proportions. The verses are initially guitar-free, just moaning, wailing vocals over a plodding rhythm section, so when the riffs return, they really pack a wallop. Dayum. What a way to go out! This number wouldn’t sound outta place on AOS’s epic Last Sunrise, put it that way…
In any case, they might have flown under the radar for some time, but this album proves that if you sleep on this Indy outfit, well, payback is a bitch. 😉