Review by Wayne Simmons
When Dutch occult rockers, The Devil’s Blood, called it a day in January 2013, fans were devastated. This was a band in their prime, big things ahead of them what with Ghost BC hitting the (relative) big time with a similarly accessible brand of Satanic Panic.
But all is not lost. Founder and main man Selim Lemouchi is back with a new project, wryly entitled Seilm Lemouchi & His Enemies, and, despite the distinct absence of his sister, Farida, on vocals, there are definitely echoes of days gone by here.
MENS ANIMYS CORPVS is a 3-song EP released through German label, Van Records. It kicks off with ESCHATON, a slow moving stoner number, mostly instrumental. The guitar is quite like The Devil’s Blood sophomore release, THE THOUSANDFOLD EPICENTRE, in places with its trebly blend of keys and distortion-free chorus effect. Selim’s vocal is gentle and smooth, a lot less dramatic than that of his sister, double-tracked and laden with harmonies to beef things up. But it works, lending the song a 60s/ 70s groove.
THISTLE is the jewel of the crown. This baby’s got single written all over it. The vocal is layered again, but much stronger than it was in ESCHATON. The guitar remains bright and clean, the drums hypnotic and upbeat. It’s a very melodic number, almost rabble-rousing if it weren’t so stoned. The strings really add to the piece, soaring with the guitar, blending with the drums and bass, sizzling manically towards the track’s close.
Closing track, YOUR WAY DOWN, is a blistering riot of a tune. The guitar is almost Hendrix-like, only more precise; Selim cuts loose with the wah-wah pedal, but there’s still a lot of layering and blending and post-production evident. The vocal, when you can hear it, is heavily effected, all wails and chants, mixing with the music to become an instrument in itself. This is like a spell or incantation, a fitting climax to an exciting EP.
MENS ANIMYS CORPVS is an eclectic release and with the new outfit described as ‘a never stagnant group of colleagues, friends and artists’, it’s unlikely Lemouchi even wants to find a new sound. The focus seems to be on the journey; Lemouchi cites his inspiration as ‘unimagined space alive with motion and music’ so we can only expect further transition and innovation in the future. This is a stellar EP regardless, sublime in both intent and delivery.
3. Your Way Down
MENS ANIMVS CORPVS is available May 2013 on CD and limited edition vinyl from Van Records.