Devil Sold His Soul: Live Review From the O2 Islington Academy, 9th April 2022

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Devil Sold His Soul Band Promo Photo May 2022

Last year Devil Sold His Soul released their brilliant fourth album Loss. Now 12 months later they were finally able to get out on tour in support of the record concluding with a night at Londons Islington Academy.

Early doors meant that even with them being bumped up to main support, URNE (8) were still playing to a gradually filling room. But those who did make it down for them did get to witness something mighty. URNE’s blend of crushing riffs with touches of prog feels exactly right for this crowd and whilst the reaction isn’t wild you can see everyone getting caught up in it and headbanging along. They do a great job balancing immediacy with the more expansive elements meaning that even in a support slot like this they are able to win over new fans. Joe Nally has a very likable stage presence too with the right balance of self deprecating humour and charm. It’s the riffs that are the main event though, with some fans genuinely cheering as certain riffs hit. URNE’s growth still feels like one of the most natural in the UK now as word of mouth just continues to spread thanks to their brilliant debut album Serpent & Spirit as well as live shows like this.

Devil Sold His Soul (9) seem overjoyed as they hit the stage to play one of their biggest headline shows ever. Five years since they last toured there seems to be a real celebratory feel to this set. Unsurprisingly it leans very heavily on Loss and those songs sound absolutely incredible live. This being the final night of their first tour in years both Ed Gibbs and Paul Green seem a little worn down vocally but they still give it everything and the emotional power of the songs still lands. Ardour sounds absolutely huge opening and as they hit its big crescendo and the strobes lights blare they nail a sense of spectacle even in a venue like Islington Academy. It’s a trick they repeat a few times but it never once loses its impact just due to emotional power of the music.

Based on the reactions to the songs, Loss has clearly been well received by fans based on the intensity of fans singing the songs back. The Narcissist stirs up the most aggressive pit of the evening too. The older material they sprinkle throughout the set is very welcome as well, with songs like Crane Lake still having as much impact now as it did 10 years ago. The band sound incredible tonight giving such a polished and tight performance but still hitting the right emotional intensity. And even with their vocals not being at 100%, Ed and Paul’s passion and enthusiasm more than makes up for it.

The surprise highlight of the evening came in the encore though as they delve back to the Beyond Darkness EP which was a nice touch for long term fans. Paul Green’s excitable crowd surfing at this point best summed up what a wild ending to the gig it was. This was just a celebration for both the band and the fans, a celebration of the power of live music.

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