“None of us have ever thought about other people’s perceptions of us. We went from playing in basements to playing on huge stages and nothing has changed with our attitudes or our writing process. We’re writing what we’ve always wanted to write, and we’re just naturally getting better.”
From a haunted corner of the Emerald Isle, the Darkest Prince speaks. The lead guitarist of Devil Master has spent the plague years honing the band’s sound—sometimes in seclusion in his Irish homeland, sometimes in the company of his co-conspirators in Philadelphia. The result is Devil Master’s heretical second full-length, Ecstasies of Never Ending Night. “I think it’s more intricate than the first album,” Darkest Prince says of the album’s alluring mix of black metal, death rock and Japanese-style hardcore. “There’s more for people to pay attention to or get lost in. It’s more immersive.”
The path from Devil Master’s 2019 debut, Satan Spits On Children Of Light, to Ecstasies of Never Ending Night was long and winding. Beyond the many challenges presented by the pandemic, the band experienced a mutual parting of ways with half of their previous lineup. In the aftermath, vocalist Disembody Through Unparalleled Pleasure also assumed the role of bassist, strengthening the core songwriting trio alongside Darkest Prince and rhythm guitarist Infernal Moonlight Apparition. Fresh blood was required and found in drummer/keyboardist Festering Terror in Deepest Catacomb (a.k.a. Chris Ulsh of Power Trip and Iron Age).
Meanwhile, other changes were afoot. In the touring days prior to lockdown, Devil Master were approached by producer Pete DeBoer, known for his work with interstellar death dealers Blood Incantation and Spectral Voice. DeBoer flew to Philly to join Devil Master at Milkboy Studios, a spot known more for its pop (Lana Del Rey, Justin Timberlake) and rap clientele (Lil Uzi Vert, Meek Mill) than for anything in the metal or punk realm. As such, Devil Master recorded live to analog tape surrounded by a surreal spread of platinum albums.
“We finished recording on Walpurgis Night,” Darkest Prince explains. “It wasn’t planned that way. It was a synchronicity, which was very special for me. There was no better sign for a new beginning for the band.”
In fact, Devil Master’s roots in ritual magick have never been more prominent than on Ecstasies Of Never Ending Night “I think it’s more important than ever to the band,” Darkest Prince says. “Having to deal with the tumultuous lineup change, a global pandemic and a seeming apocalypse, we were able to power through all that and put this record out. I think that’s an affirmation of the will more than any album I’ve ever been involved with.”
As Darkest Prince points out, Ecstasies is a step above and beyond its predecessor. “This album is more mature and self-confident,” he says. “It’s moving past childish Satanism towards a more mature dark spirituality. This one is not relying on stereotypical tropes. It’s a real magickal experience.”
In many ways, Ecstasies is meant to mirror Satan Spits On Children Of Light. “This and the last album are mirrored opposites, right down to the titles,” Darkest Prince points out. “There’s even an instrumental in the middle of the album, like last time. I believe in balance, so there’s a spiritual aspect to it. And it just feels good.”
The blackened punk maelstrom of “Acid Black Mass” set the tone for Ecstasies, as it was written four years ago in a drug-induced revelation. “I wrote most of the first Devil Master album high on K2 spice, which is like the most intense, weird part of an acid trip,” Darkest Prince offers. “I would always write in the winter in Ireland, but we couldn’t get weed easily, so we’d order spice to my door. ‘Acid Black Mass’ is the last song I ever wrote and demoed completely on spice.”
Sonically speaking, “Acid Black Mass” is peak Devil Master. “It’s the perfect evolution of our sound,” Darkest Prince enthuses. “It’s Japanese metal-punk d-beat meets black metal. There’s plenty of GISM and Mobs in there, but also Celtic Frost and Gorgoroth.”
Elsewhere, the spiraling death rock of “Abyss In Vision” and dancefloor goth of closer “Never Ending Night” provide layers of refined atmosphere. “Everyone loves a good dance goth song, like Trisomie 21’s ‘The Last Song,’” Darkest Prince says of “Never Ending Night.” “We just wanted to write a classic goth song that you never want to end.”
Then there’s “The Vigour Of Evil,” which Darkest Prince describes as a song about fucking. “So, it’s meant to sound like that,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a sexy, rocking, triumphant song.”
Lyrically, vocalist Disembody laces Ecstasies with life-affirming blasphemy and existential dread. “I’ve compared him to Baudelaire in the past, because he combines the dread and the blasphemy so well,” Darkest Prince offers. “That said, the lyrics are pretty personal to him.”
As for the album title? Keep in mind, this is the same band that Bandcamp Daily described as “Life-affirming Satanists.” “I think the title speaks for itself—and our attitude in general,” Darkest Prince says. “Christianity is the real death cult. Life should be to have fun.”
In the end, magick reigns. “I have the attitude that every single day and every single thing is an act of magick,” Darkest Prince concludes. “And music is the highest form of that.”