Last year Russo recorded a deflated cover of Puddle Of Mudd's "Blurry," a move that seems prescient now. The first half of Charming Devil is made mostly from looping guitar leads and Russo's iffy but wrenchingly honest singing. He has a surprising knack for guitar riffs, which makes the shift in sound feel natural on tracks like "William The Conqueror" and "Lobotomy." Things get desperate on "Mantra," where Russo chants "I'm the devil" over pounding hardvapour drums, while "The Earth Is Covered In Blood" is a fried noise-folk jam that sounds like it was painful to make.
Charming Devil does open up after its searing beginning. "No Sleep" introduces a funky tabla groove, while "Mini Sync" sounds like it could be Tin Man on Livity Sound. Those two tracks are separated by "Wolf," a brutal hardvapour jam with weary melodies that creak with pain. But through all these mood shifts and dour moments, Russo's skill for melody comes to the surface, revealing a new side to an already multi-faceted artist.