Review: Amigo The Devil ‘Yours Until The War Is Over’

Captivating. That one word describes Amigo The Devil perfectly. His music, his stage presence and his stories hold you as you cling to every note and word. I share music with anyone I can and everyone I’ve introduced Amigo The Devil to has become a fan much in the way my wife introduced his music to me. His new album, Yours Until The War Is Over, is filled from start to finish with captivating moments that pull you from reality and launch you into each new story.

Amigo The Devil 'Yours Until The War Is Over' Artwork
Amigo The Devil ‘Yours Until The War Is Over’ Artwork

Hanging By The Roots opens the album with Tom Waits vibes, specifically the Closing Time era. The dark tale tells stories of hanging on by hope or by rope. The story is backed by calming music as if the characters in the story are at peace with their outcome. This somber beginning starts the emotional roller coaster that is Yours Until The War Is Over. Keep your hands and feet inside at all times because this is quite the ride.

‘When everyone’s opinion is wrong to someone else and empathy has all gone to hell, it’s all gone’. That thought provoking statement paired with Tom Waits vocal intensity, as heard in Hell Broke Luce are moments that grip your soul and leave chills in its wake. It’s All Gone is only the second track on this album and it’s already proving to be a powerful album.

I’m Going To Heaven has a positive vibe in the title but if you know Amigo The Devil‘s music then you’re already waiting for the twist. This song is a perfect example of a story where the listener is hanging on to every word to find out how the story progresses. The main character’s wife is murdered, and the killer is dead as well. The recently widowed husband makes the trip to heaven to… you guessed it… get revenge on the murderer. The music coincides with the story so well at times, it helps paint a picture of what’s happening.

After an engaging tale and a few laughs, it’s time for another soul kicker of a song. The Mechanic is aptly named as the storyteller talks of fixing a relationship. Stepping away from the band, Amigo The Devil shares a solo acoustic track and the intimate breaks like this in the live shows are incredible. This forces you to focus on the words and really feel what is being said.

But Amigo The Devil quickly returns with another thrilling story with Once Upon a Time in Texaco Pt. 1. It follows a similar style as I’m Going To Heaven as it tells a dark story that manages to make you laugh. Some drunk friends run out of liquor, so one decides to rob a Texaco and things go horribly wrong. As the main character is in the thick of it, he says ‘I’m guessing that you all feel like a hostage, but I’m sure it feels nice to be held. Though comedy and tragedy historically are linked, the joke didn’t go over too well.’ I disagree as I think the joke went over incredibly well!

We have experienced the astounding nature of Amigo The Devil‘s storytelling thus far. But, as I mentioned earlier, always be ready for a twist. Barrell And Staghorn is just that. An instrumental with radio recordings layered over the top. The banjo playing is calming with reverse drone sounds underlying the soothing riff while the radio chatter creates moments of chaos throughout. This segue transitions seamlessly into the next number Agnes.

His new album, Yours Until The War Is Over, is filled from start to finish with captivating moments that pull you from reality and launch you into each new story…

It tells the true story of letters written between lovers Agnes von Kurowsky and Ernest Hemingway during World War I. Hemingway fell in love with his nurse after becoming severely injured and Amigo The Devil uses Agnes’s sign off for the album title which the press release states, ‘She would sometimes end her love letters by writing ‘Yours until the war is over’,  a sign-off that proved prophetic, her ultimate rejection devastating and scarring him’.

The first single released Cannibal Within is up next and is a perfect song to lead the album’s promotion as it has similar vibes to Born Against and proves a good transition into the new soundscapes Amigo The Devil explores. It’s also catchy and has you humming the track throughout the day and wanting to revisit it in anticipation for the remainder of the album.

Garden Or Leaving is another heavy hearted song that talks of a newborn leaving this world the day it’s born and the effects on the parents. The somber tone reflects on this tragedy that unfortunately too many people go through. Again, stepping away from the band, Amigo The Devil wants you to focus on the lyrics and feel the sadness.

Now I know I’ve discussed stories and lyrics a lot so far and while they are still amazing in Virtue And Vitriol, I need to state that the bass on this song is insane. I strongly suggest playing this loud in the car so you can feel the low end rattle your bones. It’s a moment I remember from hearing Edmund Temper live a few years back and I experienced it again on Virtue And Vitriol.

The upbeat tempo song One Day At A Time makes you feel warm and cosy but the lyrics flip that feeling 180 degrees. It’s a story of someone who will throw away one day at a time since there is nothing left to lose after his loved one walked out. The backing vocals add some character as if this song of blues is being sung at a gathering. Amigo The Devil ends the track with a vocal range similar to that of Small Stone off his previous release Born Against.

The distortion on Stray Dog strikes me first and gives me immediate vibes from Michael Rudolph Cummings Goblina. Especially since I first met him when he opened for Amigo The Devil a few years back. The story of someone treating the narrator as a stray dog varies from the previous track but the choir of vocals gives the feeling you are still at the pub with friends singing out the woeful stories as you try and heal together through music.

Amigo The Devil knows when to tone it down forcing the listener to pay close attention to the words like a speaker softening his voice drawing the listener in. Closer is the name of the final track and that is exactly what Amigo The Devil is doing with minimalist music and spoken word storytelling. I found myself mesmerized and focused through the entire four-and-a-half minutes. An immensely profound ending to an album that explores sensitive subjects and brings light to topics typically kept in the dark. Again, Amigo The Devil outdoes himself with this new album!

Label: Liars Club Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Josh Schneider