*This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State*
This month’s State is Arkansas!
Man, let me tell you: Arkansas is turning out to be a state that is cultivating some seriously great and unique Metal bands. Anyone following our State of the Art series knows that we view it as an opportunity to expose ourselves to music that would normally never cross our radars and take it very seriously because many of these bands need to cross a lot of your radars as well. That being said, this week I would like to share with you a band from Malvern, AR called Undercover Devil.
Invariably, Undercover Devil has a Deep South take on Metal. Heavy as hell but with that Southern Hard Rock groove and feel, particularly from the vocals of T.J. Hobbs (The Nothing). No high pitched screaming or growling from this man; choosing to be rough, raw and yet musical and incredibly expressive instead. Think somewhere between Zakk Wylde and Charlie Daniels. Yeah. No kidding. Dropped my jaw too. He is just that damned good. Fitting appropriately with his in-your-damned-face tone, lyrics are brutally honest and harsh. These are not shallow, teeny-bopper tunes. They speak of a life-time of growing into their own skins, be it from success or failure without the slightest bit of candy coating. Backing this massive voice and reflectively thoughtful lyrics requires some pretty bad-ass musicians to hold everything else in its respective place. Down low on bass, David Lee Bailey (Steepbanks) plays with a very heavy hand along side drummer Seth Erwin (Black Tooth, LbFace, Playing With Karma) laying down a foundation of modern sounding rhythm, breaking them out of ever sounding old school or Country while remaining catchy and memorable. They have those killer songs that you just can’t get out of your head. The guitars of Justin Riley (The Nothing, LbFace, Powerbastard, Playing with Karma) add a traditional, Hard Rock feel to the sound while pulling influences from mild Doom and Thrash at times as well. In all honesty, Undercover Devil could have stopped right there and been a good band. Shunning good and shooting for great, layer the riffy, lead guitar and backing vocals of Eric Ahart. His guitar work weaves through the heavy feel of the rest of the band with a melodic, modern flair that makes everything click perfectly without taking an ounce of energy or power from anyone else. Undercover Devil is the perfect synthesis of five, seasoned artists playing as one. As stated on their website: “The mission of Undercover Devil is to expand a familiar sound with new grooves and original concepts lost in the modern Heavy Music landscapes. Five guys with five different backgrounds come together to create a new kind of HEAVY”. With a freaking bullet, their goal is an understatement of their end product.
Undercover Devil was formed in the summer of 2014 and quickly settled into what the band remains today. Pulling influences from these long-standing and diverse studio and live act artists to form a sound that pulls from Metal, Blues, Classic Rock and Hard Rock; from Muddy Waters to Slayer; Delta Blues meets Hardcore Metal, and ends up with a finely polished sound that gives them a sound all their own that they call Dirty Southern Metal or Heavy Power Groove. Talent just runs rampant through everything this band has produced. Undercover Devil has one album from a few months back called “Burn It Black” released on Curled Up Dead Records. They also partnered with Extreme Management Group out of New York in late April, 2016 which should propel Undercover Devil to the next step in their musical careers. Everyone complains about modern music being unoriginal and boring. This band will cure you of that ailment right freaking now!