Devil’s Hand is the new project featuring the union of two icons in the music business: Mike Slamer and Andrew Freeman.
Mike Slamer’s projects in the music world over the years include Streets in the 80s with former Kansas singer Steve Walsh, and 70s rockers City Boy. The man gets around, and certainly has remained active over the decades. Andrew Freeman is best known these days for fronting the Dio spin-off band Last in Line, but has also performed with the likes of Lies Deceit and Treachery, Offspring, Lynch Mob, and Hurricane. He’s also performed with the Raiding the Rock Vault classic rock tribute show in Las Vegas.
Given the sheer musical diversity and different directions the two bring to the table, I was curious to see where this album would go, which also features drummer Chet Wynd in addition to the Freeman/Slamer duo. Is the union between these rockers , both of whom have pretty solid bodies of work under their belts, one worth exploring?
Largely comprised of classic AOR-style melodic rock, the debut release from Devil’s Hand is a surprisingly powerful one. About a week prior to this review, I published a “Best of the Year” list, and it’s a shame this release slipped under my radar because it for sure would have ended up somewhere in said list had I heard it beforehand. But you know what they say about better late than never!
What is truly surprising about the album is how diverse the tracklist is. Freeman claimed in interviews the album would be “more commercial” than some of his previous efforts, but any fears you have can be put to rest. This isn’t a pop album or a cry out for more mainstream attention. Some tracks are a little more modern flavored than others, but it’s not a bad thing by any means. The album’s set of tracks runs the gamut from traditional AOR-style rockers to more gritty and bluesy tracks, and even acoustic-style ballads. Slamer is an instrumental genius, but the real hero of the day is Freeman, who can adapt to sing literally anything, regardless of what the song requires.
Devil’s Hand hopefully won’t be relegated to a one-album wonder status, because I can’t wait to see what else Slamer and Freeman have in store for us the second time around, if there is indeed a second record sometime in the future. It’s an AOR masterpiece with a beautifully diverse set of tracks. Part throwback, part modern, all excellent rock and roll. These one gets my absolute highest recommendation. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking it, like I almost did!