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Deville are:
Andreas Bengtsson: Vocals, Guitar
Martin Hambitzer: Guitar
Markus Åkesson: Bass
Markus Nilsson: Drums

Recorded at Sunnana Studios, Arlov, Sweden.
Produced by Deville.
Recorded and mixed by Markus Nilsson.
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio Labs, Ann Arbor, MI (USA).
Artwork, illustration and design by Alexander Von Wieding, www.zeichentier.com
Photography by Henrik Christoffersson.
Published by Small Stone Records (ASCAP).

Reviews for Hydra...

The Big Takeover

Despite his punk rock upbringing, Dave Grohl has a passion for loud and heavy rock and, at times you can hear that in Foo Fighters music. Had Grohl grown up with only classic rock albums and an older brother with a Camaro, it's likely they'd sound like Sweden's Deville. Similar to bands such as Torche or Fu Manchu, Deville weaves their way between the grunge and stoner rock genres, pleasing both fan bases equally. "Lava" is a killer start -- guitars a-blazin' and a thick groove laid down by the rhythm section -- and the intensity keeps up throughout the remainder. Small Stone has added yet another great one to their catalog. Horns up, fellas.

- Chip Midnight

December 1st, 2013 (Issue No. 73)

Metal Temple

Swedish rockers DEVILLE are here with their third full length album, and first to be released under new label Small Stone Records, “Hydra”. It’s non-stop Rock from start to finish, and great fun to listen to. There’s only one song here, “Imperial”, which clocks in at longer than 5 minutes, but I think for this band, it suits them. It lets them show a lot of variety with their music, and makes the album feel like it’s over in a flash, despite being 45 minutes long – which is all credit to DEVILLE – it doesn’t feel like it drags on. I got quite a few FOO FIGHTERS vibes whilst listening to “Hydra”, which is awesome, because they’re one of my favourite bands. It’s very rhythmic and melodic Rock, with some brilliant riffs and hooks, and great choruses. The production values are very high here, the whole album feels really tight, and sounds clear and crisp – a lot of time went into the making of this album – it was even recorded and mixed by the drummer, now that’s dedication. Regardless of all that though, it’s a great sounding album, and a pleasure to hear a band that you can tell loves what they do.

Musically and technically it’s to a very high standard, Bengtsson’s vocals are on point, the guitars and bass are stomping and controlled, and the drumming brings everything together very nicely. DEVILLE haven’t tried to be overly ambitious, but they’ve definitely improved on their previous two albums, and it really does show how much work they’ve put into it. It sounds like DEVILLE have really come into their own with this album, and finally found out which box they fit into (not that I’m saying their talent is restricted), and I think once a band does that, they start producing the best music they can, which of course pleases the fans, but which will undoubtedly be a great confidence booster for the band themselves.

If you were indifferent to DEVILLE’s first 2 releases, then you shouldn’t dismiss this album. It’s a step up from “Come Heavy Sleep” and “Hail The Black Sky”, and you should definitely give it a try. And even if you’re not familiar with the band, you should give this a listen anyway, “Hydra” is a great album in its own right.

- Rebecca Miller

April 8th, 2013

Stark Music Reviews

Swedish stoner rockers Deville has released some pretty interesting stuff before, but Hydra takes the band to a new level for me. Opening rocker Lava really kicks the listening experience into instant high gear! I really like Bengtsson’s clean, but strong voice in combination with the hard driving fat guitars. They remind me a bit of The Quill at times, which is quite okay in my book! I’m happy to say next track, Iron Fed, continues this pleasant musical journey with its intense, back-beat power-rhythm, while In Vain takes it all down a bit with a cool pace. At times it feels wrong decimate Deville by calling them a stoner band, since they have so many more influences in their sound and style. They are not overly distorted in the guitar department and the vocals are cleaner than the general stoner band. There are great riffs, there are cool mellow parts, there are are nice variations in tempo and rhythms. There’s a bit of Truckfighters, a bit of Dozer, a bit of The Quill, even a bit of Mustasch at times. It’s also quite melodic. Let It Go, for instance, actually gave me a bit of a King's X feel with a modern melodic chorus. Most of all, they have really hit home when it comes to the song quality on this album. A killer rocker that needs to be thoroughly checked out!

- Janne Stark

August 18th, 2013

The Rock and Roll Report

The Swedish band DeVille is a group that is currently creating some of the strongest and most melodic rock music of any band currently creating rock music. The four-man band consists of vocalist and guitarist Andreas Bengtsson, guitarist Jan Persson, bassist Markus Åkesson and drummer Markus Nilsson, although Martin Hambitzer was guitarist for the band when they created their newest album. The style of the band takes rock from the likes of Black Sabbath and combines it with rock influenced by Soundgarden. The 2013 album from DeVille is entitled Hydra.

When listening to Hydra from DeVille, the listener hears a band that takes itself seriously when creating their music. The music created by the band seems to be powerful from the first note and just never lets up. The album is just the thing for music lovers who enjoy a lot of energy in their listening pleasure.

Hydra from DeVille begins with the track “Lava”. “Lava” is a track that brings together the sound of Soundgarden and Queens of the Stone Age. The resulting rock song is a solid track that features a fresh, modern sound that could fit in on any modern rock station or Alternative rock format.

The track “Iron Fed” is one of the hardest rocking songs of the album. The track features a relentless driving feel to the music that comes courtesy of the musicians in the band, especially drummer Markus Nilsson who provides an unforgiving beat that really makes the song move along with a quick pace. “Iron Fed” is truly one of the best and strongest tracks on the album.

One of the strongest tracks on the Hydra release from DeVille is the track “The Knife”. The first two minutes of the song deal with lyrics about a man in pain. But it’s the second half of the track that really caught my attention. The second half of “The Knife” is one of the most impressive instrumental jams to come along in a while. DeVille takes the groove that was laid down in the first half and continues the instrumental feel of the piece until the pace and style of the music segues into something with a lot more melody. The music takes on a stronger groove and quicker pace while allowing the band to show off some of their talents as a band as a whole.

While the band slows the pace of the music down for the track “Over the Edge,” that hardly means that the band eases up on the power behind their music; the track is as strong as any of the other songs that have a quicker pace.

Just like the track “Over the Edge,” “Burning Towers” has a slightly slower pace to the music. With this track, the person who stands out the most is vocalist and guitarist Andreas Bengtsson who gives the track an equal amount of power on the guitar and on the vocals. With this track, Bengtsson’s vocal delivery on “Burning Towers” is strong and shows that he can survive with the best rock vocalists that have come before him.

The track “Blood Crown” is yet another song that stands out on the Hydra release from DeVille. The song features a very commercial feel to the music and is one of the tracks on the album that could have you jamming along with the music.

The Hydra release from DeVille comes to an end with the track “Stay a Little Longer”. The track has a lighter, more commercial feel to it than most of the songs on the album. The track features a refrain that will grow on you.

When you listen to the newest release from Swedish rock band DeVille, you get an album of rock and roll that features a whole lot of power and energy while still containing a lot of fun moments.  If you are a fan of bands that feature loud guitars, a lot of energy along with talented playing and writing, Sweden’s DeVille is a band you need to check out and their album Hydra is one that needs to be heard.

- Matheson Kamin


August 9th, 2013


Some people lament the fact that music that really rocks is a thing of the past. Those people are obviously not familiar with Small Stone Recordings. This label releases only music that begs to be blared from speakers.

Deville is a band from Sweden whose album Hydra was recently released by Small Stone and it is just what you'd expect from this label. Deville believes in loud guitars and solos. Yes, guitar solos (kids, ask your parents). And if you think the guitar is good, just listen to the drummer. I don't feel like it's a stretch to say you can get worn out just listening to the drums on this album. Certainly if you're trying to air drum along with this band, you're going to have a hard time keeping up. Even more so than the guy in the Volkswagen commercial trying to play along to "Fly By Night." If you want a good example of the rapid-fire drums, check out "Iron Fed."

You know how every heavy metal or hard rock band has that one ballad? Well, if you're looking for ballads, keep looking. Deville only plays songs that are loud and fast. The closest thing to a ballad on this album is the intro to "Burning Towers." It starts sort of mellow and then explodes into the big, loud sound you hear on the rest of the album.

If you're looking for a comparison, I think a fair one is Soundgarden. Andreas Bengtsson's vocals are in a similar range and if anything this band louder than Soundgarden. In any case, if you like your rock n roll loud and fast, Deville is a band you should get to know.

- Gary Schwind

May 4th, 2013


 DEVILLE is a guitar band...see album cover for details.

To be clear, that's the cover of 2013's "Hydra" we are referring to - this being the Swedish group's third full-length and first for the biggest and most consistent champions of "Camaro Metal" (?),Small Stone Records, which inevitably tempts one to assume that a wholesale stoner rock experience is in store.

But wait, don't reach for that basement couch, family-size bag of Cheetos and glow-in-the-dark bong just yet, 'cos there's more to DEVILLE than these stereotypes - even if, at the end of the day, it all revolves around guitars, guitars and more guitars.

For starters, DEVILLE's songs aren't merely about brawn and bluster: "Lava" features ghostly backing vocals across its midsection; "Iron Fed" betrays distinct alternative metal minor chord voicings; "In Vain" tops surprisingly bouncy grooves with hypnotic guitar dervishes?and those are just the first four tracks.

Ensuing numbers continually tightrope high above this three-ringed circus, comprised of classic heavy rock (one), '90s alternative, err, "stuff" (two), and perhaps least emphatic of all, stoner rock (three, told you!), which nevertheless informs the entire album's core ethos and certainly core attributes of tunes like "The Knife", "Empire" (a song simultaneously steeped in purer heavy metal values) and the instrumental "Battles will be Born", in particular.

Still, it's the endless hopscotch from one style to the next within any given song that highlights the band's best material, including the alternately fiery and doom-laden "Burning Towers" and the joyously head-stomping "Blood Crown".

One also gets a vibe, as the album progresses, that the Swedes' clean instrumental separation and punchy production - reminiscent of the work of Nick Raskulinecz - reveals their non-evil desire to learn what helpful hints they can from mainstream hard rockers, like the FOO FIGHTERS and QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE (without succumbing to forced flirtations with the latter's recognizable sonic quirks).

So yeah, there's plenty of brawn, bluster and - you bet! - guitars all over "Hydra"; but lots of texture and flexibility too, offering clever dynamics and evincing broader emotions to elevate DEVILLE above the mediocre Orange Cabinet-abusing masses out there.

- Eduardo Rivadavia

June 18th, 2013

Metal Hammer

Once upon a time stoner rock was synonymous with the dusty environs of California. But Sweden, being quick on the uptake, started spitting out bands of their own which are quite annoyingly good: Asteroid, Truckfighters, Dozer, Lowrider... the list goes on. Well-schooled in the fuzzy, beard-friendly odes to Kyuss, Deville take the blueprint for this genre, but much like their countrymen Grand Magus, they articulate an appetite for mainstream melodies that pushes their style beyond the territory of 70s rock worship, causing them to sound more like the Foo Fighters than Fu Manchu. In fact the comparisons to the former are steadfast, from the stomping 4/4 drums to Andreas Bengtsson's Grohl-a-like vocal offerings. For all their straight talking on 21st-century stoner, Hydra expounds rhythmic features that keep them on the underside of hard rock.

- Holly Wright

June 1st, 2013

The Big Takeover

Hydra, the debut record from Sweden’s Deville, starts like a good hard rock record should – with a turbocharged rush of riffs and muscle. In a just world “Lava” would get a Grammy nom in whatever rock/metal category they still have going. Though nothing else matches that opening blast, the rest of the record wastes no time getting its power chords on, blasting away with amps set to shout. That said, the band doesn’t rawk out at the expense of melody – whether the quartet raises the flag for epic battles (“Burning Towers”), keeps the choogle firing (“Over the Edge,” “Imperial”) or simply heads-down blazes forward (“The Knife,” “Iron Fed”). The band’s grunge/hooks balance occasionally threatens to tip over into Nickelback territory, but fortunately singer/guitarist Andreas Bengtsson has neither the ego nor the interest in teenage poontang to push the band into that nightmare world. If you’re looking for some solid hard rock thrills, Deville delivers.

- Michael Toland

May 16th, 2013

Liquid Hip

This past decade has been great for Deville. The heavy rock foursome from Malmö, Sweden, have produced three progressively better albums. Hydra is easily their best.

Not only did the band trade in some of their sludgier stoner rock for something more contemporary, but every inch of the new album is tightly woven and clean. Sure, this new effort lands them somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal, but it's also patently clear that Deville is confident and comfortable in this fuller space.

Hydras have many heads. Some bite.

Overall, Hydra picks up the pace thanks in part to simpler arrangements. No, the band hasn't completely abandoned its stoner rock roots. They've also kept some piggish elements, adding in plenty of dirty riffs and additive hooks. The biggest difference is they want to do more than create atmosphere. They want to drive it.

Ask the band and they're likely to sum up the changes as simply taking the very best of what works live and putting it together. They don't want anyone to leave their shows bored. And nowhere is this fact more evident than the first track. Lava is a journey, just like the video.

Filmed and directed by Henrik Christoffersson and Peter Tarpgaard, the song lays down a blurry and impossibly impulsive first person account of what it takes to get it done. There might even be an inside joke in featuring drummer Markus Nilsson as the one trying to make the studio session.

He had two jobs this time out, taking over as engineer too. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean Nilsson was calling the shots. Most people know Andreas Bengtsson asserts himself as the frontman for Deville. He is the one who drives the band forward, just not without asking for opinions and input.

The truth is that it was Bengtsson who wanted Nilsson to mix it after the first mix by someone else flopped. According to Bengtsson, it was too lo-fi and held back too much. Nilsson agreed to fix it, but only on the condition that no one would interfere with his process.

The totality of the album is a more diverse Deville.

The advantage of having Nilsson mix it is apparent. He was there when the band play-tested many of the songs on tour. It could also be in some of the mixes that he accentuates the more experimental moments.

I'm not sure all of them work. For example, Let It Go has these oddly pop-infused choruses sandwiched between heavier steadfast lyrics. The better track is the nod they give to their own past performances as Imperial leans on their atmospheric roots. Stay A Little Longer could have also been more thunderous than subdued.

While there is plenty to like about the album, the best highlights are on the top half of the album. Iron Fed, an underrated track, chugs along at the same relentless clip. In Vain has an almost alternative rock feel as Martin Hambitzer and Markus Åkesson weave together a few timeless impressions. The Knife is a fuzzy, fuller throwback that also contains compact and memorable drum work.

There is no doubt that Bengtsson is more urgent on the album, that Deville packs in more than two guitars to add even more weight to some sections, and it's mostly straightforward hard rock with Nilsson occasionally working overtime. Sometimes it's almost too clean. Sometimes there's too much pop.

Hydra By Deville Drives 7.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.

The biggest impression most people will take away from the album is that the band isn't confined to the 1970s. Rather than quietly produce something to complement their stoner rock creds, Hydra is a little more modern and a whole lot more serious.

You can find Hydra by Deville on Amazon. You can also order the vinyl edition from Barnes & Noble or download the album from iTunes. They are clearly a band to watch, given that Hydra demonstrates how much more there is to this band than most people realize. It would be great to see even more material that showcases their new-found direction. Maybe they'll leak some while on tour.

- Richard Becker

April 26th, 2013


On their third full length, Sweden's Deville take a different, more accessible tack to prior releases, injecting their fairly straight-down-the-line stoner rock vibes with a bumper dose of barnstorming melody. While never dispensing with the trappings of the genre - the sandblasted grooves and monster riffs are still present and correct, and handled more than competently- the four piece are taking cues from arena titans past and present, as well as, prominently, Songs For The Deaf-era Queens Of The Stone Age. The results can prove a tad hit and miss, but Lava and Over The Edge pack a mighty punch, and there are more then enough great moments to make this worth your while.

- Rob Sayce

April 25th, 2013


Sweden rocks. Cold, hard, & sharp metal, a mix of stoner, doom and modern rock. OUT NOW!

Deville make metallic stoner rock, but their third long-player Hydra is more upper than downer. The souped up Sabbath riffs, have an added aggression, and even a radio friendliness that owes as much to rock’s current big hitters such as the Foo Fighters as it does the bands stoner scene contemporaries. The keywords here are speed and drive. And though there are grooves aplenty, laid back is not an option. Over the album’s eleven tracks the pace set by album opener Lava hardly relents save for the slower Burning Towers and the band’s more doom/stoner moments.

The band have talked of a more traditional approach to songwriting than was evident on their previous two albums (2007′s Come Heavy Sleep and 2009′s Hail The Black Sky) with an almost 70s FM feel on the chorus of album closer Stay A Little Longer. Added to this new found (almost) commercialness are some tasteful art-rock adornments such as the middle eight on Lava, and the production on The Knife where they’re crafted a guitar wall of sound that sounds like sheets of metal coming off a production line.

Over The Edge and the vocal-less Battles Will Be Born will keep the stoner fans happy where the band stretch out and indulge in some grungy riffing that’s as dark as an Arctic winter. Special mention must go to drummer/producer Markus Nilsson as Hydra has one of the best production sheens of any of the albums I’ve listened to over the last few months.

Rating 7/10

- Duncan Fletcher

March 26th, 2013

Heavy Planet

If last year's Torche release, Harmonicraft, was 2012's epitome of a pop metal record then Deville's latest, entitled Hydra, will gladly pick up where Harmonicraft left off. Deville, a Swedish quartet based in Malmö, hold a heavy resume filled with two strict stoner rock releases and performances in the company of Fu Manchu, Mustasch and Sepultura. With Hydra, their third full length, the guys loosened their grip on the set stoner rock sound and opened themselves up to criticism by infusing the sonorous characteristics of pop rock and some astute songwriting. Now, while Harmonicraft showed up to the party with a playful vibe Hydra is a little more serious, filled with a young man's angst. Within moments of pressing play you will realize that the musicians here have no anxiety though, displaying a confidence and cohesion that many a veteran band cannot boast. Each musician knows his role and executes that task effortlessly all while increasing the chemistry between the other three band-mates. In the end though one feature of Hydra apexes making these forty-five minutes excellent and truly memorable... Andreas' King Leonidas style vocals. This powerful and intimidating tool along side the gravitating instrumentals niche a new step in the stoner rock ladder allowing Deville to stand out from their other rock peers. Check out the thick progressive sludge tendencies seeping into in the six minute monster Imperial below and get over to Smallstone Recordings Store to get a copy for yourself. If you aren't a believer yet be sure to click the youtube link below for the official video for album opener Lava!

- Zac

April 10th, 2013

Metal Temple

Swedish rockers DEVILLE are here with their third full length album, and first to be released under new label Small Stone Records, “Hydra”. It’s non-stop Rock from start to finish, and great fun to listen to. There’s only one song here, “Imperial”, which clocks in at longer than 5 minutes, but I think for this band, it suits them. It lets them show a lot of variety with their music, and makes the album feel like it’s over in a flash, despite being 45 minutes long – which is all credit to DEVILLE – it doesn’t feel like it drags on. I got quite a few FOO FIGHTERS vibes whilst listening to “Hydra”, which is awesome, because they’re one of my favourite bands. It’s very rhythmic and melodic Rock, with some brilliant riffs and hooks, and great choruses. The production values are very high here, the whole album feels really tight, and sounds clear and crisp – a lot of time went into the making of this album – it was even recorded and mixed by the drummer, now that’s dedication. Regardless of all that though, it’s a great sounding album, and a pleasure to hear a band that you can tell loves what they do.

Musically and technically it’s to a very high standard, Bengtsson’s vocals are on point, the guitars and bass are stomping and controlled, and the drumming brings everything together very nicely. DEVILLE haven’t tried to be overly ambitious, but they’ve definitely improved on their previous two albums, and it really does show how much work they’ve put into it. It sounds like DEVILLE have really come into their own with this album, and finally found out which box they fit into (not that I’m saying their talent is restricted), and I think once a band does that, they start producing the best music they can, which of course pleases the fans, but which will undoubtedly be a great confidence booster for the band themselves.

If you were indifferent to DEVILLE’s first 2 releases, then you shouldn’t dismiss this album. It’s a step up from “Come Heavy Sleep” and “Hail The Black Sky”, and you should definitely give it a try. And even if you’re not familiar with the band, you should give this a listen anyway, “Hydra” is a great album in its own right.

Rating: Excellent (8/10)

- Rebecca Miller

April 8th, 2013

Lords Of Metal

Small Stone Records is the new harbor of the Swedish outfit Deville who released their debut 'Come Heavy Sleep' on the Buzzville Records label. I can remember that I was not very fond of the band at the time by that first attempt and also their second record 'Hail The Black Sky' was not something I would regularly play. This brings us to their third record 'Hydra' which is a huge step forward for the band because they actually are leaving that juggernauted footpath of overused stoner metal traffic and focus more on straight to the bone rock pop like we know from bands like The Foo Fighters. And this, dear friends, I like a lot better. No re-chewing of old re-chewed ideas but a fresh and crisp wind in that songwriting that will be a template for bands to come! Not only are the songs more grown up and do they possess tight arrangements and play, also the vocals are hugely improved to my liking. Just listen to 'Lava' and you understand my point. This betting on a single horse instead of on all of them is a big risk, but in this case it's payday! Great record!


- Erik

April 2nd, 2013

Get Ready To Rock

There is definitely something good in the water in Sweden as not only do they produce a stream of top notch melodic rock and 70′s influenced acts, they have been producing some top draw modern rock bands like Deville. Deville are onto this their third album and its safe to say if you enjoy the vocals of Dave Grohl and the riffs of Queens of the Stone Age you will adore this album.

Between them the two guitarists, Andreas Bengsston (who also sings) and Martin Hambitzer, produce wave after wave of fine riffs. Add in the restrained but heavy drumming from Markus Nilsson and pounding bass of Markus Akesson and you know the album is going to be one for repeated spins. The opening trio of ‘Lava’, ‘Iron Fed’ (a Sabbath song title if ever there was one!) and ‘In Vain’ are worth getting the CD for on their own merit. Great choruses, grooving backing and the in your face vocals of Andreas Bengsston. They stretch their wings a little on the instrumental ‘Battles Will Be Won’ and ‘Blood Crown’ could be hit as it has the most instant chorus on the album.

Live I would imagine Deville are simply stunning and they aren’t too shabby on CD either…


- Jason Ritchie

March 26th, 2013


It's not surprising that Sweden, so often the stronghold of extreme and obscure rock and metal sub genres, has been home to a large chunk of the remaining fresh sounding stoner rock of the last few years. Bands like Truckfighters and Asteroid have shown that the genre still has life beyond regurgitated Kyuss homages, and for those in the know, Deville have been up there with them, in musical output at least. I first heard them when reviewing a split of two bands then unknown to me, Sergej the Freak vs Deville. Their half was excitingly impressive, and they continued the form, with the album Come Heavy Sleep in particular a real gem of modern stoner.

For that reason, it was felt like deserved recognition when Small Stone, the last label bastion of stoner rock from the mighty American trio of yore that are still fully active (the others being Man's Ruin and Meteor City) picked them up. Too many sub par "desert" bands have got more recognition with less.

Deville's main assets aren't revolutionary but simplicity is often the best way - strong vocals, catchy as fuck riffs, often played at a brisk tempo. Lava opens up the album and showcases all their prowess, driving home their intention stylishly. After that, Hydra stagnates a little however, never bad but without the irresistable attention grappling riffs it fails to pique the interest often enough for the early-to-middle of the album. The songs are accomplished hard rock and with Andreas Bengtsson's impressive vocals there are Soundgarden influences conjured, but thankfully they never delve into that murky mid territory of stoner and grunge, a near sureity of mediocrity if you see that combo on a press release. The production is powerful and weighty with it, allowing songs like Over the Edge to shine with a healthy dose of heaviness, but all the while never fully reaching their true potential.

Things change subtly but markedly from the middle of the album, becoming a notch darker and doomier, from Burning Towers onwards, which sounds distinctly Age of Winters-era The Sword. The following Let It Go is darker still, which then gives way to the metallic instrumental Battles Will Be Born, which, as the title suggests, gives the impression they've been listening to High on Fire. It's a strange section of the album, surprising and welcome, but I can't make up my mind if the grouping together of these songs, rather than spread throughout is inspired or just too weird.

Hydra ends with Stay A Little Longer, brooding with an alternative/indie base like the serious and assured moments of Foo Fighters, or even post-hardcore perhaps. It took me a few listens to get it, but now find it an interesting and admirable track that shows, if you didn't believe it before, that Deville have a real talent. It also ensures the album is bookended with it's best offerings.

It's hard for me to tell whether I'm being harsh in my summation that this is a good but slightly disappointing album, due to my high hopes for this release. It's as possible that I've been overly positive for the same reason, so I'll keep it at that. Don't be put off checking out Deville if you still hold on to the hope of stoner rock, and Hydra is well worth a dip, but it's probably best listening to earlier ouput first.

- Pete

February 20th, 2013

Stoner Hive

Ye gods, these five star albums are just hitting from every angle at the beginning of this New Year like someone hit a gigantic bee’s nest full of heavy greatness. This time around we are treated to the third full-sized album by the Swedish Deville. Hydra is filled with grandiose metal tracks that have that sludge feel but move towards stoner and alternative rock just as easy. Their songs are sleazy and groovy hard-hitting masterpieces that show their skin first and slowly divulge every bit of their true colors. Catchy soulful tracks that are warm to the touch and hot to the ear. Stirring every fiber in your soul with their ever rolling drums and the tasty melodies; expertly drawn out by massive riffs and razor-sharp solos. And let’s not forget to mention the great vocals of Andreas Bengtsson; that hauls you along on every one of them hottdamn musical mountains!

5/5 stars

- Joop Konraad

January 23rd, 2013

The Sleeping Shaman

Back in 2008 I reviewed Deville’s “Come Heavy Sleep” album released on Belgian label Buzzville. It was a decent enough album but seemed to lack a certain something; call it grit, call it a fire in their belly, call it what you will but it just didn’t quite hit the spot despite showing promise. Here we are 5 years on and Deville have taken the leap to bigger and better things with a new home at Small Stone.

So, have things improved? They certainly seem to. The opening pairing of “Lava” and “Iron Feed” come rocking out of the traps with gusto aplenty and a definite sense of purpose. They still occupy that middle ground between dusty stoner rock and something altogether more radio friendly and still echo the commercial appeal of Queens Of The Stone Age…”Iron Feed” in particular has a chorus with “hit” written all over it. The band’s bio claims them to be “70’s rock for the 21st Century”; I would dispute this claim as I’m hearing virtually no trace of anything remotely retro or vintage here. This is slick, modern heavy rock with an eye on chasing the Foo Fighters’ tails albeit far heavier and ballsier. On tracks such as “Over the Edge” they do show more Small Stone spirit as it does nod more towards the stoner end of their sound than the commercial and as a result is altogether more satisfying. Likewise a track such as “Burning Towers” kicks off with a nod towards something far more Sabbathy before things kick up a notch.

Generally this album sees the band with a greater sense of urgency and Andreas Bengtsson’s strong, gritty voice displays a far more purposeful sense of conviction in its delivery. That said I’m still struggling a little with this and this may be a question of personal taste. There is no doubt that Deville are excellent song writers and excellent musicians and the production here is faultless being thick, clear and rich. Maybe that is the problem; maybe it’s too clean, maybe the band’s songs are almost too well written and performed. I realise that does sound a bit of a contradiction, how can something be too good? It all comes down to that whole idea that rock and roll should, in some way, exude a spirit of rebellion and danger. As good as this album is it does lack a little danger…it’s all very safe, a little sterile. The Rolling Stones made “Exile On Main Street” in a roasting hot, sweaty basement in the South Of France dosed up on Jack Daniels and heroin whilst hangers on and revellers partied til all hours upstairs…and in the process made one of the greatest rock and roll albums ever made. In stark contrast “Hydra” sounds a little over worked. In an effort to craft a “perfect” album it has lost some spirit and fire from its belly.

Regardless, this is a very strong album that will no doubt find a home in many collections from a band literally bursting with huge potential. When the revolution hits, however, this won’t be the soundtrack.

- Ollie Stygall

March 13th, 2013

Daredevil (Germany)

DEVILLE from Sweden is right now one of the best and most important Stoner Rock band from Europe! After their debut on DAREDEVIL RECORDS (Split CD with SERGEJ THE FREAK) the band is back with a mindblowing album. HYDRA is the masterpiece so far. After a lot of shows in Europe, the band is ready to make the next step. HYDRA is a killer of an album. No filler! And they changed the record company: from the legendary BUZZVILLE Records to the mighty SMALL STONE - another huge step forward! The opener LAVA is exactly what you expect. Kick ass straight forward Stoner Rock. With a great melody and great vocals. IRON FED is the same direction before IN VAIN follows. A song with some FOO FIGHTERS (especially on the vocals) and HELMET influences and a great groove! THE KNIFE is the first song, which is beside the typical DEVILLE sound and it is the first real highlight on the record. A pure and great Alternative Rock song, with some QOTSA elements. What a power man! OVER THE EDGE is a mid-tempo Stoner Groove rocker and again with mighty vocals from Andreas Bengtsson. LET IT GO start with a mighty QOTSA like riff - a real monster - and turns into a Pop Music like chorus. Awesome! This is another highlight on that record. My favourite guitar riff is the mighty opening of BATTLES WILL BE BORN, a great instrumental song which a lot of power and groove. BLOOD CROWN is another Stoner Rock song and IMPERIAL and STAY A LITTLE LONGER at the end of the record are two highlights in the DEVILLE discography! Both features melodic and different vocals from Andreas. Both songs are full of atmosphere and different to the typical Deville stuff. And different to the other stuff on that record. But huge songs! My favourites! The record start with typical Stoner Rock as you knew from the past records from Deville. But song for song it will get more different and close with 2 awesome songs! I really hope that they break through! All the best! A powerful record!

- Jochen

March 1st, 2013

Paranoid Hitsophrenic

Hydra' is Deville's third full-length album and first on Small Stone Records, it was also this reviewer's introduction to the band.  Right off the bat the album appears split down the middle between a heavyweight, hard-driving and muscular style of stoner rock and a more melodic, poppier side with more of a glittering sheen on it.  These apparent 'pop sensibilities' raise the eyebrows a little because I wasn't quite expecting what I heard.  Before I listened to the full album I made myself quite familiar with the aptly titled opening track "Lava".  It's an absolute barnburner of a tune.  A driving, straight-forward, single-minded, waterboard the listener with riffs kind of song ... and is in no way representative of the album as a whole.

Much of 'Hydra' is lathered with this clean guitar sound and vocal sensibility while laced with clean production as a whole.  To someone fully immersed in the often dirt-encrusted world of stoner rock, the effect of such tracks as "In Vain" and "Blood Crown" is truly striking.  "In Vain" finds the band muting their riffs both literally and figuratively for a streamlined chrome-tipped approach.  Deville showcase a deft ear for catchy, mass-appealing combinations of non-threatening rhythm and melody along the lines of the Foo Fighters' later, heavier radio hits.  The first hints of something a little different than what the average stoner rock or Small Stone Records fan is expecting come on "Iron Fed" and this musical direction only becomes more apparent as 'Hydra' plays on.  Even the non-painted cover art lets fans of the label know something a little different is going on here.

There's no real mystery as to how Deville are able to achieve their 'radio ready' sound.  Melodic vocals do the trick nine times out of ten.  It's something relatively few underground bands focus on, but Deville seem to concentrate on this aspect.  Dynamics make up the other ten percent and Deville are no strangers to that aspect of the music either.  None of this is negative criticism by the way

"Over The Edge" opens up the throttle on the band's more diesel smoke blowing, piston chugging heavy riffs as they begin to take center stage on each of the next few tracks.  Each on in turn bottoms out the low end a little further.  Chugging out a slow groove here, ripping a few faces off there and slamming listeners upside the head with two by fours of pounding pulsating rhythms are just some other aspects of what Deville does.  They've got their sweet and sour sides with both turned up to eleven.  Where the band really shines is when they combine the heavy with the melodic, as on the malefic "Burning Towers" or the thundering "Lava".

I admit it, I love the radio.  Well, that is to say, I love the idea of the radio and I wish I could tune in and listen to anything but the local classic rock station but I just can't.  When I'm forced to listen to the radio at work they don't really play rock n' roll on the local 'modern rock' station anymore, it's all 'Top 40 crossover' with nary a fuzzbox to be heard.  The local station plays a few good songs but by the time Alice in Chains comes on you've already tuned out.  In a fantasy world bands like Deville or any number of other Small Stone bands would be the vanguard of a movement towards rock taking the radio back.  Money is the roadblock, but in a fantasy world, there's no reason 'Hydra' wouldn't have mass appeal to rock n rollers of all stripes, Paranoid Hitsophrenic readers included.  As someone whose found this blog you don't necessarily 'need' Deville to be on the radio because you can hear them on the player below, but there's a world of rock n rollers out there who sure could use the head-ucation.

Highlights include: "Lava" and "Over The Edge"

Rating: 4/5

Reminds me of: Foo Fighters, Greenleaf, Soundgarden, Truckfighters, Veracrash

-  LK Ultra

March 8th, 2013

The Obelisk

Even before Hydra is a heavy rock album, it’s a rock album. The third full-length from Malmö, Sweden’s Deville and first for their new label, Small Stone Records, has its roots in Foo Fighters as much as, if not more than Kyuss, and it’s a difference of presentation and method that runs deeper than one might initially think. A lot of the trad stoner tonality that showed up on Deville‘s first two studio offerings, 2007′s Come Heavy Sleep and 2009′s Hail the Black Sky, has dissipated, but if you listen to those two albums in line with the 11 tracks of Hydra, the latest still seems a logical extension of their methods, if one driven in a more straightforward, less fuzz-reliant direction. The band recorded themselves, with drummer Markus Nilsson handling the engineering, so one imagines they knew what they were doing and that the clean, crisp, professional sound they wound up with on these songs wasn’t an accident. Even in terms of the songs themselves, one can see a difference. Not troubling itself with intros, outros or interludes, Hydra also finds Deville tightening the structures of their material, so that in its varied array of moods, there’s only one song reaching over five minutes long — the penultimate “Imperial,” at 6:31 — where each of the prior two offerings has had four. That’s probably not a conscious decision on the band’s part, that is, they likely didn’t sit down and say, “Okay guys, time to write shorter parts,” but it’s another example of Deville departing their stonerly beginnings in favor of a more straightforward take, skirting the lines between hard and heavy rock an an almost track-by-track basis.

Clocking in at a vinyl-ready 44:35, Hydra makes a strong opening statement in its first three tracks, “Lava,” “Iron Fed” and “In Vein.” Each is opened by Nilsson‘s drums and finds vocalist/guitarist Andreas Bengtsson leading the band with guitarist Martin Hambitzer and bassist Markus Åkesson contributing to the momentum. Right away, the band carries across their sonic shift — again, not so drastic that if you heard Deville before you wouldn’t guess you were listening to them again, but still a marked change from the first two records — but if Hydra‘s first volley proves anything, it’s that the tradeoff comes in the band being tighter performance-wise and clearer in their intent. “Iron Fed” chugs through its verse en route to one of the album’s finest hooks, something mid-period Dozer would’ve been proud to hang their hats on, and keeps motion central even in its lead break, which hits right where it should at the end of the second third of the track, right before the chorus comes back in, once and then again with more feeling. Hardly a slowdown, “In Vain”  sees Åkesson come forward in the mix, joined by a guitar swell in the chorus, as Bengtsson pulls back on the vocal thrust to ride the groove kept active by Nilsson‘s upbeat snare. It’s in line structurally with most of the rest of Hydra, but “In Vain” also serves as the first signal that Deville have more to offer in terms of mood than the driving rock they’ve so far presented.

-HP Taskmaster

March 21st, 2013

Dr. Doom's Lair

The Swedish four-piece DEVILLE play nothing more than straightforward Stoner Rock. You may haven’t heard them before but if you follow the Stoner scene you can easily imagine how they sound like. No surprises here but still the band’s third record, “Hydra”, is full of killer riffs and great balls of fire. The band mixes perfectly the heavy bass lines with fuzzed out guitars and packs some bad-ass vocals which sometimes for some reason remind of post-Draconian-Times-era Nick Holmes (PARADISE LOST). It could be just a coincidence though as DEVILLE seems to prefer to stick to the fundamentals of Stoner Rock (KYUSS, QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE) and occasionally to add some pinches of Grunge. For the benefit of us all they also completely neglect the modern Swedish trends (WITCHCRAFT, GRAVEYARD) and focus on delivering some pure, bad-ass Rock. I can’t say I went nuts for “Hydra” but the record served its purpose.

March 17th, 2013

The Nevada Sagebrush

It’s no big secret that hard rock has seen better days. The era of distorted guitar riffs and rough vocals made famous by the likes of Aerosmith, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin has long since passed. There are few newcomers to the scene, and recent releases from old mainstays such as Guns N’ Roses and Van Halen have done little more than show how far a band can fall.

Given the numerous stylistic variations and the rehashed releases by more recent artists, one would think the map of hard rock music has been all but completely charted out. Swedish quartet Deville’s “Hydra,” however, serves as a strong counterargument to such claims.

Founded in 2004, Deville is one of the few modern hard rock bands to eschew recent genre stereotypes of intentionally lo-fi production, monotonous guitar riffs and banal lyrics. Though only the band’s third record, “Hydra” showcases an astute understanding of hard rock’s strong points while also tastefully implementing modern facets into the aging genre.

Opener “Lava” wastes no time with pretension or easing the listener in. Satisfyingly crunchy guitar riffing, rhythmic drum patterns and energetic vocals cause the album to begin on an incredibly high note.

All the elements that personify a great rock album are present. The musicianship is tight, with plenty of bombastic and diverse riffs, while the half-shouted, half-sung vocals of Andreas Bengtsson remain consistently entertaining throughout.

“Hydra” is on the heavier side of the hard rock spectrum. While not really comparable to the metallic onslaught of Iron Maiden or Metallica, it is noticeably louder than what you would hear on “Appetite for Destruction” or “Toys in the Attic.” Though the heaviness may be polarizing to fans of such old school albums, “Hydra” contains a surprising amount of diversity that many of its contemporaries lack.

Tracks like “Iron Fed,” “Imperial” and closer “Stay a Little Longer” are refreshing changes from the in-your-face heaviness that characterizes much of the album. “Iron Fed” contains a repeated chorus that is almost poppy in its infectiousness, while the latter two tracks have slower tempos and more relaxed vocals that wouldn’t be out of place on an alternative rock record.

While the changes in pace are indeed welcome, it’s the heavier tracks like “Over the Edge,” “Burning Towers” and the after-mentioned “Lava” that really push Deville past their peers. It is no-frills hard rock that’s loud, enjoyable and free of pseudo-progressive meanderings and half-assed experimentation.

With a fantastic hard rocking core supplemented by modest samplings of other musical styles and professional, clean production values, “Hydra” is a shining example of modern day hard rock done right.

- Tyler Hersko

February 12th, 2013

Sputnik Music

Summary: Constantly oscillating between rampant and infectious, Hydra is a resounding triumph for Swedish heavy rock.

Swedish heavy rock bands have always been inclined to deliver amazing 1970s-inspired music. On their third album, Malmö-based Deville are at the top of their game following the footsteps of such acclaimed outfits as Dozer, Lowrider and Truckfighters. Even though their prime influences are rather apparent, Deville opt for modern production that accentuates their fuzzy guitar tone placing their style in a distinctly contemporary context. The foursome ventures into heavy metal, alternative rock and even pop making all these arbitrary influences integral ingredients of their style. That's why, Hydra sounds more like an extension to the booming stoner rock scene than a relic of the past, embracing various directions that the quartet's peers usually steer clear of.

The slick production is also there to expand on the outfit's consistent songcraft. Deville have taken their sweet time to figure out which tracks work best during their numerous concerts and thus the process of putting the album together lasted two long years. This approach has resulted in a diverse repertoire that ranges from sturdy, hook-laden rockers to more progressive, sludgy bruisers. “Lava” sets the tone for the entire disc blending driving riffs with an unpretentious hook, while “In Vain” drifts into an alternative territory with its reassuring chorus and smooth transitions. Elsewhere, “The Knife” is notable for its bouncy, heavy-on-fuzz passages culminating in a deranged drum solo. Helmet-like, walloping riffs propel the verses of “Let It Go” which bewilders with its pop-inflicted chorus. On top of that is a mesmerizing, double-punch climax consisting of atmospheric “Imperial” and tranquilizing “Stay A Little Longer,” both of which leave a profound impression.

Aside from the supreme interplay between fuzzed-out guitar riffs and oozing bass lines, the exceptionally dynamic drumming of Markus Nilsson plays an essential part in keeping the songs compact enough not to allow even a moment of boredom to slip in. The LP's great appeal is even broadened with dissonant solos scattered, often unsuspectingly, throughout numerous tracks. The bombastic instrumentation is supplemented with powerful vocals of Andreas Bengtsson whose timbre is tailor made for this kind of music, and the harmonies he comes up with are nothing short of infectious. His sole misstep in an otherwise flawless performance seems to be a repetitive chorus of “Iron Fed.”

Similarly to Torche's latest effort, Hydra feels like the template for stoner rock releases that are going to follow. It superbly encapsulates the current tendencies in heavy rock music with its knack for persistent groove, bludgeoning riffs and powerful melodies, enhanced by the decidedly modern production. It's a near-perfect amalgamation of all these elements that makes for the record's remarkable staying power.

4.5 - Superb

- Greg Fisher

January 26th, 2013

Temple Of Perdition (France)

You immediately hear that these Swedes have been around for ten years now: DEVILLE play no-frills Rock music with obvious influences, but write proper, diverse songs instead of indulging in sluggish riffs and singing that knows no tonal range.

On their new album, the repertoire ranges from all-out Stoner-stuff like the opening tune or "Over The Edge" across compositions that live up to the best Helmet did in their heydays ("In Vain") to more metallic elements, manifest in "Burning Towers", for example, and the production in general.

Other highlights are the sombre instrumentals "The Knife" and "Battles Will Be Born" as well as "Iron Fed", which reminds of pre-Solace-group Godspeed, plus the occasional nods towards Josh Homme's work, most noticeable in the plodding passages of "Let It Go". With "Imperial", the band has also delivered a small epic with soulful soloing towards the end whereas elsewhere, they strive for a very compact sound.

In its broad range and modern tinge, this is actually what you want to hear in 2013, no strained vintage-isms with which other bands try to gloss over their inability to come up with something interesting. Mind you, Deville aren't revolutionary either, but they have the singer (Bengtsson knows how to write vocal melodies) and songwriting capabilities above par.

- Andreas Schiffmann

January 16th, 2013

Album Tracks

  1. Lava
  2. Iron Fed
  3. In Vain
  4. The Knife
  5. Over The Edge
  6. Burning Towers
  7. Let It Go
  8. Battles Will Be Born
  9. Blood Crown
  10. Imperial
  11. Stay A Little Longer

More Stuff...