I like to refer to singer, songwriter and storyteller Amigo The Devil; or Danny Kiranos, as a sweet sounding, fearless explorer. Fearless in his abilities to sing songs from the perspective of misguided souls who have committed atrocities, while simultaneously divulging some of the deepest, darkest thoughts from his own mental stockpile. Across his discography of candid narratives, he’s written lyrics that thrive on the symbiosis between his inner-demons and the mentally unstable methods of murder exhibited by serial killers.
As for his music, Kiranos has built a reputation around translating some of the sonic intentions of the extreme metal that influenced him, into macabre, folk-laden love songs; or “murderfolk,” as his style has come to be known. He’s developed his sound around old country Western and bluegrass songs, inserting sinister plot twists, with a dash of sadistic humor to take the edge off the utter horror (or hard truths) that each track tends to unravel.
With that in mind, we are gathered here today to discuss his upcoming album Born Against that releases on April 16 via Liars Club/Regime Music Group, the follow-up to his 2018 debut full-length, Everything Is Fine. With his latest work, Amigo The Devil continues to dissect the chemically imbalanced aspects of human nature through the scope of an introspective lens, while expanding instrumental arrangements accompany his words to make Born Against a showpiece in Americana music.
Kiranos comes across somber and soft-spoken in the vintage sounding, slow-paced introduction of “Small Stone.” As heartfelt strings begin to build the song up, his voice grows with great power and control. The opening track transforms drug withdrawals and getting clean, into a theatrical, pop-inspired country ballad.
An optimistic beginning that quickly changes by the sound of dreadful, tipsy brass and the steady percussive thump of “Quiet as a Rat.” With music fit for a New Orleans funeral, the grim natured single sees Kiranos bluntly calling out people’s relationship with religious faith and oftentimes, their inability to doubt anything associated with it.
Born Against picks up the pace in the organ-infused “Murder at the Bingo Hall” and again in the upbeat, bluegrass-flavored hoedown, “24K Casket.” In the track that feels like an extension of his cult classic “One Kind of People,” Kiranos becomes animated as he sings about the meaninglessness of having a shit ton of money.
The album switches gears into familiar territory as Kiranos becomes vocally deranged in the heat of passion throughout the murderous memoir “Drop For Every Hour.” Advancing ahead, the more vulnerable qualities of his dynamic personality come to life in both “Different Anymore” and “Another Man’s Grave.” Bringing feelings of doubt to the forefront of his lyrics has allowed Kiranos to convey such a sincere and honest approach to life lessons. These are a pair of songs that I can picture him performing, while staring into space with his soul-piercing and pensive gaze.
Though his tongue-in-cheek approach to humanizing the sick and twisted may be hard for some to stomach, it’s important to remember that he’s discussing the perspectives of people with a makeup no different from you and me. It’s through that risk that I believe Kiranos creates more of an impact on his audience, and closing track “Letter From Death Row” is a testament to that.
Simply put, Amigo The Devil has created another entertaining, yet moving album for lovers of all music. An album where his thoughtful figures of speech and skillful songwriting, build detailed imagery and inspire contemplation. It’s safe to say that those who bask in the discomforts of the mind will undoubtedly be cracking plenty of smiles. In the same breath, there’s enough quality music and songwriting on the new album to appease the more mentally stable listeners, as well. From delicate to deranged, from the urinal to the big stage, some people become born again, but in the case of Amigo The Devil, it is clear that he remains Born Against.