Haunted Summer by The Devil & The Universe (2014)
In 1816, Lord Byron invited a group of youthful art-lovers to spend an idyllic summer in his Geneva’s lakeside mansion: the famed Villa Diodati. Included in that exceptional guest list were the literary couple Percy and Mary Shelley, Mary’s step-sister Claire Clairmont and the physician John William Polidori – two women in their teens and three men in their twenties, afire with rebellion and revelry. To avoid the unexpected dreary weather, Byron and his invitees stayed indoors nearly the whole summertime and entertained themselves, not only by writing scary stories – Mary conceived the idea for her novel “Frankenstein” during those days – but also indulging in unfettered orgies of drug, sex and occult. Drawing on that spirit of free-thinking and transgression, Austrian musical project The Devil & The Universe has created its second full-length album: “Haunted Summer”. As has been customary since the release of the band’s debut EP “Evoking Eternity”, magic and religion in themselves are at the back of the songwriting and John Carpenter’s film scores also cast a long shadow over this new record.
The sounds in “Haunted Summer” bring us closer to that presumed tangle of eroticism, perversity and arcane experiences that were lived in Byron’s holiday home at that time. Not for nothing, Ashley Dayour (Whispers in the Shadow/Coma Divine), David Pfister (Neigungsgruppe/Sex, Gewalt und gute Laune) and the recently joined Stefan Elsbacher (Black Manna), carried their goat masks, habits and Tarot cards to an small chapel located in a forest of Styria, where they spent an entire month to invoke those spectres of 1816. Inspired by the eerie environment and, furthermore, supported in creation by supernatural methods such as automatic writing or necromancy, The Devil & The Universe approaches us now to polymorphous, ritually dark realms where all the aforementioned can be truly felt.[…]