When the song ‘A New Beginning’ comes blasting through your speakers mere moments into DEVIL YOU KNOW’s Nuclear Blast Entertainment debut, »The Beauty Of Destruction«, it’s clear: this isn’t merely another great metal anthem. It’s a battle cry; a statement of purpose; a scream for survival. From start to finish, this is a record that burns with emotion and intensity. The sort of record that pushes the competition to the ground. Very few debut records deliver this much.
No surprise that the voice at the churning vortex of unforgettable riffs and epic melodies IS none other than former KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman, Howard Jones. Having voiced the Grammy-nominated Massachusetts metallers though nearly a decade of touring and two gold records, Jones is at the top of his game here. Brought together with Italian-born guitarist Franscesco Artusato of THE FRANCESCO ARTUSATO PROJECT and ALL SHALL PERISH and drummer John Sankey of Aussie metallurgists DEVOLVED, who is also a long-time collaborator with metal heavyweights, FEAR FACTORY, DEVIL YOU KNOW isn’t merely an intersection of individual talents. It’s an expansive alloy of sound you’re not going to forget anytime soon.
DEVIL YOU KNOW began simply enough. “Francesco and I wanted to write great, heavy songs that didn’t rely on shredding or being technical,” recalls Sankey. “We wanted to write great songs first and foremost. At first, Francesco didn’t even want to put guitar solos on them!” The pair’s next step was simple: find a singer capable of bringing their songs to life. “Howard was the first name we thought of,” says Sankey, who, through mutual friends, contacted and passed music to Jones. “We were blown away to hear how much he liked it.” Before too long, the trio was in Los Angeles, laying the sonic foundation of DEVIL YOU KNOW.
“I had taken some time away from music,” says Jones. “I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. One thing was for certain: I didn’t want to join anything that sounded remotely like KILLSWITCH. When I heard what John and Francesco had been writing, it was immediate for me. It made me want to be creative and go back out there and prove myself again.”
Within weeks, the trio was in producer Logan Mader’s studio bringing their songs to life. “I was as surprised as anyone,” admits Jones. “Once the songs were done, we looked at each other and said: we have to do this!”
“Logan was great to work with and pushed us to take things further,” states Artusato of the then-fledgling band’s early creative vexing. A four-song demo made its way to NBE label head Monte Conner, who had known Jones while presiding over the A&R department at KILLSWITCH ENGAGE’s label, Roadrunner Records. With a few listens to the songs, which included the garroting ‘Shut It Down’ and the soaring ‘I Am The Nothing,’ Conner was sold and signed the band to his co-venture with Nuclear Blast.
Produced by Mader with Zeuss (HATEBREED/SUICIDE SILENCE) handling mixing duties, »The Beauty Of Destruction« is truly a new beginning for all three veteran musicians. “The title isn’t really about destroying anything,” Jones admits. “It’s about what you have to tear down and kill in yourself before you can truly be alive. We all have our own demons. At one point in your life, you have to face them.” It’s no surprise that tracks like the soaring ‘For The Dead And Broken’ or ‘Embracing The Torture’ sound more than slightly confessional. “There is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel,” he admits. “That’s where songs like ‘Crawl From The Dark’ came from. They weren’t the easiest songs to write or sing but they’re as honest and direct as anything I’ve ever written.”
From early on, DEVIL YOU KNOW was ready to make an impact in-extremis. Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal snuck the demo of ‘Shut It Down’ into its playlist without announcing the band name or who its members actually were. The track quickly flew up its playlist and observant listeners were quick to notice Jones’ distinct dulcet tones.
With the studio behind them, DEVIL YOU KNOW will now be hitting the road. Joining the three founding members on the road are guitarist Roy Lev-Ari and bassist Ryan Wombacher, who also handles low-end and co-vocalizing duties with California metal-core crew, BLEEDING THROUGH. “They were both natural choices,” says Artusato. “I’ve known and played in bands with Roy for years and Howard had known Ryan just as long. They both add a lot to our live show. We want to push this as far as we can when it comes to performing on stage and those guys are both serious talents.” DEVIL YOU KNOW is already slated to flex its inaugural muscle on Australia’s prestigious Soundwave Festival with significant international touring to come.
“I’m a bit shocked at how naturally this has all come together,” states Jones. “In past bands there have always been difficult personalities, difficult situations. This band has been the exact opposite. There’s no stopping this. There’s nothing we can’t face.