I hadn’t yet heard of THE DEVIL’S TRADE before I received their promo material. I don’t know what it was that drew me to their music… perhaps it was their name, perhaps it was their mystical album cover, or then maybe the description of what to be expected when I turned on “The Call of the Iron Peak,” out on 28 August 2020 through Season of Mist. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
The man behind THE DEVIL’S TRADE is Hungarian singer-songwriter Dávid Makó, who was – prior to his acoustic solo project – mostly involved in doom metal acts. This doom metal influence is present throughout the whole album in the slow rhythms and overall dominating melancholy. Overall, the songs are razor-sharp blades that pierce effortlessly through your heart. The pain centered in these songs is partially due to the minimalistic instrumental soundscapes, mostly composed out of a strumming guitar or banjo pattern, layered with Makó‘s mesmerizing, deep, melancholic vocals.
While most of the songs are fairly simple and share a similar structure, it’s the emotional aspects of the songs that separates them from one another. On this note, Makó‘s voice is the most important contributing factor in creating these different atmospheres and moods and is probably the main reason why I am awestruck by this album. Conveying emotions through a voice is not always the easiest task, but Makó does it with ease. At times I found myself reminded of PEARL JAM‘s Eddie Vedder, who has a similar type of melancholy in his voice.
The highlight of the album is “Három Árva,” a cover of a traditional Hungarian folk song. While I am not familiar with the original, there is somewhat of an extra power stemming from the fact that the vocalist is singing in his own language and creating his own version of it.
In all truth, this album is not for everyone. The songs require a certain mood to fully enjoy this kind of music. For instance, “The Call of the Iron Peak” has the power to freeze over hell because of its chill-inducing strength. While many of the songs can be of a cathartic value to some who feel at their lowest, they might just also have the opposite effect on others. Then again, it strongly depends on what kind of music you’re into as a whole – if you enjoy acts like DEATH IN JUNE, ME AND THAT MAN, but also doom metal acts, then this is an album what you should definitely listen to. Ultimately, this album is feed for sad and dark souls and a masterpiece in its own way.
1. The Iron Peak
2. Dead Sister
4. No Arrival
5. Expelling of the Crafty Ape
7. Három Árva
8. Eyes in the Fire
10. Dreams from the Rot
11. The Call of the Iron Peak
Dávid Makó – vocals, guitars, banjo
Season of Mist