Devil to Pay

By now, you all know the rules, but here’s a one phrase recap: New studio records only. Also, like a classic Spinal Tap joke, I went to eleven this year. What can I say, I couldn’t narrow it down farther from that. It happens. Let’s get started.

First off, I really don’t have a ‘Little Band That Could’ award to give out this year, though I am coming around on Bronze Honey. I just haven’t had a chance to really dig into it and see what I think. So hold that thought, you may see something more in January.

It's been a long career with some personal twits and turns for Steve Janiak, lead singer and hype man for Indianapolis-based metal band Devil to Pay. Over the years, there have been lineup changes, legitimate health scares, and all the other common machinations that prey on bands the world over. Coming through all that stronger than ever, Devil to Pay returns with a fresh deal with Ripple Music and a punchy new album with a new outlook in "Fate Is Your Muse." Steve sat down with me to talk about his band, his life-changing episodes, medically induced comas and the Indianapolis Colts. Read on:

Devil to Pay has established a long career in the underground, cementing themselves as the go-to for grungy American doom. All this while being based in Indianapolis, perhaps the least likely of hotbeds for heavy metal activity. Parenthetically, the fact that Devil to Pay has experienced success outside their home market is a solid testament to the penetration and efficiency of the accessible digital marketplace.

Devil to Pay is a band who has crafted their sound from one sweat-soaked gig in a dingy, disgusting roadhouse after another. The more the exercise continues, the dirtier the band's sound becomes. Constant exposure to the insatiably hungry dregs of ugly riff-based metal fandom has caused Devil to Pay to embark on an endless quest to find the deepest, nastiest, most infectious and punishing riff ever devised. To that end, they've released their new album, "Heavily Ever After."

Even if you've never heard Devil to Pay's 2004 album "Thirty Pieces of Silver," you've probably heard it. It might have been under a different name, or written in a different era, but it will set off alarms of familiarity from first dense note to last.

Every note of dirty, ugly drudgery is like a visit from an old, familiar friend. Each phrase is taken from the textbook of sludge metal, and the distortion is up so high that there aren't notes or chords so much as emotional responses.