Album Review: Dee Calhoun, Go To the Devil

By Andy Thunders

Go To the Devil is the latest by Dee Calhoun, perhaps better known as a member of Doom band Iron Man. A musician out of Frederick, Maryland, he went with his trusty sidekick bassist Lou and did a tour of Europe. He has played Doom festival, and has a cult following. Listening to this album, it’s amazing. It’s all acoustic, with Dee’s powerful, haunting, raw, soulful vocals and lyrics.

“Common Enemy” has a message of “let’s band together, put our differences aside, and take care of our world.” “And Bedevil Me” has a very haunting western vibe in a way, More folky than a country vibe, with his soulful mourning vocals. If it does not chill your spine, then you have no soul. I can get the senses of Robert Johnson, Johnny Cash, Black Sabbath, and even Bob Dylan all throughout the record. When he hits that high range, he reminds me of a more masculine Axl Rose. It’s not a whine, it’s more of a grand God-like demand. It is so sublime, and dark.

“Born (One Horse Town)” is a tale of an outsider and rebel growing up in a repressive town, which almost everyone can relate to. It’s a powerful, folky tune. It is pure Americana music mixed with classic metal. It’s a unique combination that really works.

“The Final Stand of The Fallen” sounds like a mournful folky Dio inspired song. It’s beautiful and very vibey. It is slightly medieval, too. Blues picking on it make it all the better. Even has a haunted sounding flute. “Go To The Devil” starts with a message from the devil, and starts into a haunting upbeat folky sounding structure. “Me Myself and I” has a very groovy blues riff, with tambourine and other acoustic percussion used. There is some great grooves here, anthem-like as well. There’s no bad songs here.

I can’t get over how simple and powerful this record is. It has the same power as the old Robert Johnson songs had in the 30s but in the modern era. When it’s stripped and raw and you can feel what he’s feeling, it’s good music. “The Lotus Field Is Barren” is another dark doom folk number, with a great riff, and great lyrics. Each song paints a picture in your head. A lot of atmosphere and depth.

“Jesus, The Devil, The Deed” is another western folk tale, so many good stories that come from a real place. Such an amazing blending of styles in such a simple, almost archaic way. “The Ballad of The Dixon Bridge” starts with some rain, and a creepy child chant of rain to way before going into a grunge/blues guitar line, with powerful, anguished vocals screaming for salvation. “Your Face” begins with wind blowing, and then a soft, eerie, dark, medieval sounding arpeggio guitar line. As the wind fades, a beautiful ballad about someone’s face that haunts your dreams. A lot of passion is here. Real passion, not calculated for the sake of writing a song. This tune was written from real pain, and it hits you like a brick to the head in the subtlest way. “Dry Heaves & Needles” is obviously about drug addiction that is becoming a growing problem in our country. All in all, this record is glimpse into a soul that’s been jaded, and kicked around like a beer can on the highway. An absolutely intense, transcendent record that will surprise you. I have nothing bad to say about this record. Period.

Track Listing

1. Common Enemy
2. Bedevil Me
3. Born (One-Horse Town)
4. The Final Stand of the Fallen
5. Go to the Devil
6. Me Myself and I
7. The Lotus Field is Barren
8. Jesus, the Devil, the Deed
9. The Ballad of the Dixon Bridge
10. Your Face
11. Dry Heaves & Needles

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