Devils of Belgrade
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Devils of Belgrade

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF

Indianapolis, Indiana, United States | SELF
Band Metal Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Devils Of Belgrade - Ðavolja Varoš"


Zach Duvall

The term “instrumental act” is anything but a universal label. More often than not it refers to songs of typical structure that lack vocals but are overflowing with solos or riffs. However, some bands write in true instrumental fashion, leaving no room or need for vocals, providing a welcome respite from the legions of attention-demanding “fronted” rock and metal bands. Indianapolis, Indiana’s Devils of Belgrade falls far closer to the latter than former. Sophomore effort Ðavolja Varoš is a riff-o-matic mixture of jammin’ stoner metal, thrash, and prog that should seem scatterbrained but doesn’t, thanks in no small part to the incredible charisma that these four guys have as a unit.

It might be easier to classify Devils of Belgrade as something along the lines of “righteous riff metal” more than any established genre. The sheer number of melodic ideas, guitar techniques and musical styles presented on Ðavolja Varoš would be daunting in lesser hands, but the band weaves it all with a certain musical agility. Included is speedy High on Fire-styled material (much of “Red Well”), NWOBHM or Thin Lizzy dual-axe heroics, full-on stoner groove (the mid-point of “Svaka Vam Chast”), a general thrashing intensity and well-placed shifts into the progressive realm, minus any real virtuosic (wanking) tendencies. For example, monster track “Bay of the Seven-Headed Hound” sounds like Bible of the Devil’s Mark Hoffmann finally blew out his voice, turned his band instrumentally insane and formed a moderate Dream Theater obsession. If a nit has to be picked, it is that certain themes may occasionally sound familiar or be abandoned earlier than seems natural, but the vast majority of the album is incredibly engaging and teeming with rock fervor.

The entirety of Ðavolja Varoš has a music-for-musicians feel to it. Aiding this impression is the tasteful soloing strewn throughout (including some nice slide and even resonator action on “Cones of Silence”) and an extremely well-honed and talented rhythm section. The combination of Marshall Kreeb’s dancing bass and Todd Ickes’ grounded, active and somewhat jazzy drumming deserves an extra mention, as both are as important to the riffs and melodies as the guitars themselves. Also adding to the music-for-musicians quality is how the production makes the instruments actually sound like real instruments: no recording tricks for the drums, an always appropriate level of guitar distortion and bass that never fights to be heard.

But fuck the details: Ðavolja Varoš is just one seriously fun record. (It includes a song named “Oktoberfist,” for chrissakes). Fifty minutes of toe-tappin’, headbanging, righteous heavy metal music that makes it all too easy to picture Devils of Belgrade getting carried away in the studio, jamming like crazy and almost forgetting that they are there to actually record something. There is a bit of room to grow with the deftness of their intricate songwriting, but once you hit the play button you’re not likely to give a shit, so just let ‘er rip.

May they never dare let a vocalist anywhere near a recording session. -

"Devils of Belgrade - Tracks of the Cloven Hoof"

Interesting instrumental metal bands are about as rare as a hot chick at a Star Trek convention, and ones that flat-out kick ass are so scarce as to become legendary almost just for existing. From the stoner-tinged riffing of KARMA TO BURN to the tech-metal wizardry of ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF, having the balls to pull off amazing metal without benefit of a singer is a celebrated, if exceedingly rare, talent. And these bands seem to appear in the most backwater-y places — rural West Virginia and the wilds of western Canada, in the above cases. Could it be the relative isolation that allows them to follow their own muse with less pressure to fit into a scene?

Indianapolis, Indiana metallers DEVILS OF BELGRADE aren't entirely instrumental — they bellow on one track — but after hearing the unbelievably awesome opener "Swirling Frozen Doom", you won't care if they ever turn on their vocal mikes. They're an interesting animal — they could play with MASTODON or MEGADETH, but aren't much like either. They're skilled at some greasy grooves, but lay prog-metal riffing over those and add a little hint of technicality to keep things interesting without turning the whole thing into a science experiment. The resulting mix of hooky, horns-in-the-air rock and impressive classic metal grandeur is simply jaw-dropping.

Just delve into the aforementioned "Swirling Frozen Doom", in which melodies careen off each other and an insistent rhythm section turns the song into an anthemic call to arms. "Phantom Skull" starts off thrashy and slides into a slippery midtempo groove with a fluid, emotional, slightly flashy solo — think Chris Poland's solo work with a bit more '80s thrash vibe and you'll be somewhere in the vicinity, at least until the band changes gears again. These guys are masters of their instruments, and play like it, but they write so well, and make it look so easy, that it takes a while to realize you're being serenaded by evil geniuses. No one's beating you over the head with shredding virtuosity, because they're too busy rocking out, but this band runs circles around most of what's called "prog metal" without even trying.

DEVILS OF BELGRADE are way the hell too good to be this obscure — someone needs to get this band on a label and on the road. Their mix of the progressive and the populist hits the heart and the brain with equal intensity, and anyone who doesn't like "Tracks of the Cloven Hoof" just doesn't like metal, plain and simple.

- Keith Bergman -

"Devils of Belgrade - Tracks of the Cloven Hoof"

Hailing from nowhere near Belgrade, Serbia (try Indianapolis, Indiana in the U.S., friends) come the mostly instrumental sounds of Devils of Belgrade, and what a marvelous bunch of music this is to behold. Tracks of the Cloven Hoof sports no less than nine solid tracks that run the gamut from Thrash to Sludge to Stoner to Progressive to Power to plain ol' Blues and Rock - and then back again. Brilliant, really. That they remain unsigned is curious, too, because they truly are a talented bunch. Specific mention must be made of Kreeb's bass because he's as much a virtuoso as the 6-string slingers (Adam and Hatchet). And drummer Todd is certainly no slouch, stopping on a dime just quick enough to pick it up (hey, free money!), and keeping up with - or propelling to madness? - his band mates.

Some song titles are really riotous, here's looking at "Corpseweed" and "Diary of a Hashish Eater," but album opener "Swirling Frozen Doom" would be a keeper with a less clever name. Highlights include the entire album, but "Lung Stripper Lowdown" is easily the most interesting, what with that swamp guitar blues bit. Sonically one would rightly reminisce about Karma to Burn, the instrumental nature of this beast undoubtedly aiding the comparison, while at times The Atomic Bitchwax and The Fucking Champs are recalled. The band's ability to blend all aspects of its influences invokes the majesty of Mastodon while not sounding alike at all. The Devils of Belgrade simply like what they like and not so simply play what they play (i.e., this is heady stuff). Tracks of the Cloven Hoof rules. That's all that needs to be said. Buy it. Now. And tell 'em Tony from Tartarean Desire sentcha.

written by Tony Belcher - Tartarean Desire

"Devils of Belgrade - “Tracks of the Cloven Hoof” - Buy It"

Devils of Belgrade are a kick in the pants, providing almost instant energy with driving guitar mixed with drums that push the beat. Every song has a path that picks you up, lets you breathe, then rocks you till the end, just to repeat it all on the next track.

Reminds Us Of: Black Sabbath at x2 with Ozzie muted - Melophobe

"Devils of Belgrade - Ðavolja Varoš"

Hot off the press is Ðavolja Varoš, the sophomore effort from the Devils of Belgrade.

Devils of Belgrade are a bit of a hard nut to crack. On one hand, they have musicianship to the hilt, but on the other hand, they sound so informal; so familiar.

They are that bar band that you hear one night and lose your shit over.

Ðavolja Varoš means "Devil's Town" in Serbian. The rock formations on the album cover are real, and they are known for making eerie sounds when the wind blows, and also for the extremely acidic (pH 1.5) springs at their base, appropriately named "Satan's Urethra."

Just kidding, they're called Ðavolja voda and Crveno vrelo.

Anyhow, the name of the album, as well as the song titles have a distinct air of "we're in on the joke," poking a little fun at the way-too-serious nature of most metal and prog albums. The over-the-top name is a subtle, contextual in-joke, which got me excited as a listener --- these guys aren't going to "Dane Cook it" and let everything out at face value - there's going to be restraint, tension, release, and dénouement on this album. Nice.

First things first, this is an instrumental album. The funny thing is, though, that I didn't notice it until I was on about track 7 --- it doesn't sound like a band that's missing it's singer; it sounds like they very intentionally wrote every song around the instrumentation that the band has. Even that description sounds a little bit like an apology, but when you listen to it you'll understand - the sound is more like a Harley-Davidson Trike than a car missing a wheel.

As you dive in, the first thing that stands out to me, is that while it's certainly aggressive, it doesn't sound mad or mean. Or angst-ridden, or immature. It sounds like you feel when you're chopping carrots or something in the kitchen - and you're going super fast and awesome, and you're like "I'm a frickin' MACHINE!"--- you're kicking ass, but not 'cuz you're mad.

I am a guitar geek enthusiast, so the guitar work on this album is of particular interest to me. First things first, the tones:

Most albums you hear, and most bands you hear, have "a sound." More often than not, that "sound" comes from a common guitar tone in all the songs. U2 is the easy example, but think of any of your favorite bands. This album (and this band) somehow retain a common "sound" without using the same guitar tones over and over. There are probably 30 guitar tones on this album - each a little different, and each prescribed for the riff or solo or song that they're on. That kept me interested throughout. After I picked up on what was going on, I was curious to see what was coming next.

You know how some metal bands will throw in one acoustic thing, just because every album has one acoustic slow jam? This ain't like that. It's all in stride and perfect in the context of the album. I appreciated that. The acoustic tone is bad ass, too. They even throw in our old bluesy friend, the resonator - and it sounds more at home here than on half of the blues albums I hear it on.

The clean electric tone on here furthers my belief that good tone can have 1000 definitions. What's most impressive is that everything sounds like it belongs. I often hear either no clean tones at all on a metal album, or SUPER CHEESY clean tones on a prog album. Well, since this album is what I would consider "progressive metal" it chooses a third category - clean tones that sound like they belong; like "of course that part is clean." Big ups.

The crunch and high-gain tones are thuper thweet. On "The Bay of The Seven-Headed Hound" they do a very mellow and major key'd breakdown, and you are thinking "ah, this is nice, like a puppy eating an ice cream cone!" and then they kick in the riff with a crunch tone with this sort of impossibly smooth+chainsaw=??? tone, and right when you are like, "OK, this rocks," they throw in a pair of very metal pinch harmonics that accent the peaks of the riff. It's details like that that make you want to hear what's next. And I don't mean the next album or the next song --- I am talking about the next second. The whole album is like that, and if you're anything like me, you'll get to the end and say "holy shit, I just listened to an entire instrumental prog metal album," but then after you get over that, you're going to say, "I want to listen to it again."

I got a lot of a backwoods, camping trip, bar-after-a-long-day-on-the-river vibe. I don't know if it was the song titles, like "Beerzerker" and "Oktoberfist" that put my head in that space, but listening to it made me want to crack open a microbrew and just listen to the album. Think about that - it made me want to just listen to the album. It's a shame that music these days has been relegated to what is essentially background noise.

I don't know anybody who sits down and listens to albums any more --- as the only thing they're doing. I remember sitting on the floor in my room when I was a kid and listening to the new Stone Temple Pilots album --- and that's all I was doing - listening. I wasn't driving to work or writing a paper or painting a bedroom, I was just listening. Ðavolja Varoš took me back to that.

The dual guitar setup is really effective and awesome. The melodies on this album pull you in, but they're not trying to substitute as a vocal. It's really something you just have to hear. You get some Thin Lizzy style harmonizing at times, too, which is just fantastic. You can tell the teamwork is fun for them, like you can hear them smiling. They also hit some major melodies in their songs, too, which is a great metaphor for what I love about this band --- they are musicians before all else, and their vocabulary has a wonderful breadth to it. I was reminded of everything from church music, to 90's grunge, to pop rock favorites, to black metal, to thrash, and all points in between. You get a sense that they could play an R&B gig or a classic rock gig tomorrow if you asked them to. The musicianship on the album is the constant thread from beginning to end that is intangible, but is present on every second of the album.

The drummer is very dynamic, and has a great effect of the mood of each song. He's locked in very well with guitars, which provides a very heavy overall sound. The drum tones on this album have a lot of "presence," which you may love or may hate. The drums on this album have a recorded tone pretty similar to those on Thrice's "The Illusion of Safety," which was a formative album for me. The overall sound is very up-front and focused --- no atmospheric ambience here, just blazing the trail for the rest of the band with straight up rock drums, and often in interesting time signatures and styles.

Real talk: The mastering and mixing on the album are interesting. As some of you know, I am VERY focused on the mastering and mixing of an album. I even go so far as to buy albums from bands I've never heard of, simply because of who mixed them. Seriously.

This recording is very dry and is not hiding behind any compression or "studio magic." The sound you hear in your stereo is what I imagine the band would sound like in person. At first listen, I was like, "ugh, I don't know if I can get down with this mix." Then, something really cool happened. Adam, the guitarist from Devils of Belgrade, reached out to me to talk about the mixing of the album. He read my initial review, and noticed that I was kind of perplexed by the mixing and mastering --- we briefly discussed my obsession with mixing, and the importance of mixing and mastering in recordings, but he left me with this, which I loved --- because the reason I'm a music geek is that I;m not only interested in my reaction to music, but I love to find out what an artist was thinking, what they were going for when they wrote it and recorded it. This is why I write this blog.

He told me, "the sound and vibe of the record was a very conscious thing...I know a lot of people really like a polished, super-produced sound right now, but we worked to distance ourselves from that. I hope that, later on, it'll pay off, and this album will still sound fresh and won't be dated; in part because we made that choice."

So there you have it, from the horse's mouth. It definitely sounded like it was on the continuum between a live recording and a studio recording. In a way, it added to the overall listening experience, making the album very friendly and intimate. Any way you slice it, once you hear the songs, you'll start to "get" the production. Or you'll never notice it, because nobody gives as much of a shit about mixing as I do.

It also stands as a great reminder - this band hasn't made it yet. If you want to hear more from them, and you want a better mix, you gotta vote with your wallet. By buying it and rocking the hell out of it in your car, house, boat, golf cart, pool float, cubicle, or helicopter.

All told, I love this album. It's about the same length as my commute to/from work, and I have spun it probably 30 times in the last few weeks. I can't stress enough how much it does for me to restore the ALBUM as an art form. Also, it's a super-accessible format to expand your musical horizons, because it's kind of metal, without all the chest-beating and ego --- and it's kind of prog without all the wizardry and wannabe mystique. If you are bored with whatever's in your CD player right now, this is what you need: 4 guys from Indianapolis who have a ridiculous knack for keeping you engaged. Buy it now.

-Hunter - TLA

"Devils of Belgrade - Ðavolja Varoš"

Okay, you can find very informative interview with all the guys from Devils of Belgrade on our pages, there they have explained the concept of this record and basically everything that you should know about them so let’s go straight to the most important thing – music. You see, Devils of Belgrade don’t have vocalist and that is probably the first thing that you will notice about them as it is strange feature for proggy Thrash, but fear not, beacuse after the initial shock and awkwardness caused by the said fact you will simply forget about that fact and let the music do the talking. Truth be told, I have thought for a couple of times where should I put the singing sections and I simply couldn’t find the answer (it is true that I am total dick for playing any instrument but nevermind); maybe they could go for some lines that are completely disconnected with the music, like for example on those old Mekong Delta albums, but why go with that if their music is good enough as it is? So you have probably figured out by now that „Ðavolja Varoš“ is incredibly rich in arrangements and that you will need lots of time to truly grasp what is going on here. For example, I have stated in interview that I don’t see that much of a Stoner influence in their music but after some more time spent with „Ðavolja Varoš“ I have realized that it was an understatement as the actual album is even richer than I have thought. The leading role belongs to the guitars of course, and they are carrying the lion’s share of themes but closer look will expose very good bass and drum work also. I must say that I like the relaxed and „jam session“ feel of the record, the guys sound like they are jamming in their garage totally relaxed, it’s just that they are full of good ideas. They simply don't use their skills for some shitty show-off but instead the musical know-how is just a tool for obtaining the richness of the sound. I must admit that I can listen to this album all the time due to its complicated nature but when you get down to it you can find a lot of things to be excited about. Now, all that is left is that some label finally take notice of Devils Of Belgrade, took them under its wings and give them chance to present their craft to the wider audience. Momci, svaka vam cast!

Trifunovic Slobodan (8.5)
- Metal Sound


Ðavolja Varoš - 2010
Independent sophomore full-length album
10 tracks, runtime: 50:31
Available on iTunes,, and Amazon

Tracks of the Cloven Hoof - 2008
Independent debut full-length album
9 tracks, runtime: 42:50
Available on iTunes,, and Amazon



Hailing from Indianapolis, IN, Devils of Belgrade first unleashed their unique style of instrumental progressive metal onto underground scene in 2008 with their critically-acclaimed DIY full-length release Tracks of the Cloven Hoof.

Devils of Belgrade have since shared the stage with the likes of Indian, Bible of the Devil, The Atlas Moth, Raise the Red Lantern, Lo-Pan, and Devil to Pay; each time being a complement to their peers on the stage while diverging completely from the expected formulas of the genre and enthralling every audience they have faced.

Though their musical influences range from early Thin Lizzy to Powerslave-era Iron Maiden to Kyuss, Devils of Belgrade never attempt to be anyone but themselves; prompting one reviewer to remark that they could easily share the stage with Megadeth
or Mastodon while sounding nothing like either band. Belying the niche status of their aesthetic, Devils of Belgrade appeal to young new fans, stoner/doom aficionados, and olde-guard metal heads alike, enabling the band to completely sell-out the first run of their debut album in under a year while nearly doubling that figure with online downloads during the same time.

Primed to build upon the strong foundation lain by their debut, Devils of Belgrade released their DIY sophomore full-length Ðavolja Varoš in June of 2010. Ðavolja Varoš (the name of a geological formation in Serbia which, translated to English,
means “dwelling place of the Devil), was inspired by metaphysical exploration by way of Serbian folklore as an homage to Eastern European fans who, discovering Devils of
Belgrade from the number of extremely positive reviews of their debut album, were first made curious by the band’s name and then grew into a whole new (and completely unanticipated) market for their music.

More ambitious and focused than their previous work, Ðavolja Varoš runs the gamut from attitude-driven garage rock strut to no-quarter-given thrash evisceration with just the right amount of dynamic interlude to give it all context. Despite the sonic diversity, Devils of Belgrade have crafted Ðavolja Varoš with a fluid cohesion that, while at times challenging to the listener, never alienates or leaves them behind as it organically flows
through the modulated intensity and vibe in each of its ten tracks, creating a roller coaster that fans of all metal can strap into again and again.