I’m always excited to get my hands on a new DevilDriver album, having been a big fan of the band since their early releases ‘The Fury Of Our Makers Hand’ / ‘The Last Kind Words’, and this latest offering from the Californians was no exception.
‘Dealing with Demons I’ is the first part of a double record; a saga which addresses the battling and exorcising of persistent inner demons and I must admit, I wasn’t disappointed.
Right out the gate you know this is DevilDriver. “Keep Away From Me” may start with a slow, ominous introduction, but by the 53 second mark you’re greeted with Dez Fafara’s instantly recognisable, hair-raising, blood-curdling growl. With its driving beats and groove-ridden riffs, it’s certainly reminiscent of the ‘Pray For Villains’ / ‘Beast’ era and is the perfect opener to the latest release, setting in motion the velocity and ferocity at which the entire album follows.
D’Amonds unrelenting, machine-gun drumming opens “Vengeance Is Clear” – a track that delivers a more catchy, groove-infused riffage. While “Nest of Vipers”takes on a more melodic and, dare I say it, rockier / power-metal vibe. It’s already clear that ‘Dealing With Demons I’ is certainly an album that’s going to bring you an eclectic offering, and vocally, it’s clear that Fafara is on top form (he’s not losing that infamous snarl any time soon), as the band keeps a tenacious grip on what they do best.
Similarly, “Wishing” is another track that strays a little from the sheer melodic death metal vibe. Providing powerhouse rhythm sections married with churning melodic riffs, this track also sees Fafara drop the usual raucous vocals and adopt a softer, clean approach; something we don’t hear very often and which staples this as one of the stand-out tracks on the album.
If you’re looking for some solid DevilDriver jump-around-and-smash-stuff metal, tracks such as “Iona”, “Witches”, and title track “Dealing With Demons” will certainly deliver just that. While “You Give Me A Reason To Drink” (supported by Dez’s son on vocals) provides more of a grunge / thrash vibe, perhaps reminding me of something a little Hatebreed-y vocal wise.
The closing track “Scars Me Forever” begins with a soft, peaceful intro before bearing all with some outright melodic heaviness at its best and leaves you with this sense of Fafara purging himself one last time, particularly with lyrics such as “Going down rabbit hole, I try to hold on, but I’m sliding down fast!”
All in all, ‘Dealing With Demons I’ smashes it out of the park right from the get-go; delivering thunderous, groove-infused, face-melting metal at its finest and it’s great to see the band seemingly returning to their roots, particularly when compared to their previous offering ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End Vol 1.’
With the apparently personal lyrics which lay bare Fafara’s demon-battling soul, combined with an unrelenting heaviness that we’ve come to expect from DevilDriver and a varied portfolio of what the band do best –delivering full guitar lines, blast-beat drumming, catchy melodies and demonic growls– you’ve got yourself a powerful album to add to the bands already solid catalogue, which will be sure to sate the appetite of DevilDriver fans.
Killer tracks; ‘Keep Away From Me’, ‘Iona’, ‘Wishing’, ‘The Damned Don’t Cry’, ‘Scars Me Forever’
Released By: Napalm Records
Release Date: October 2nd 2020
Genre: Melodic Death Metal / Groove Metal
- Dez Fafara / Vocals
- Mike Spreitzer / Lead Guitar
- Neal Tiemann / Rhythm Guitar
- Austin D’Amond / Drums
- Diego “Ashes” Ibarra / Bass
- Keep Away From Me
- Vengeance Is Clear
- Nest Of Vipers
- You Give Me A Reason To Drink
- Dealing With Demons
- The Damned Don’t Cry
- Scars Me Forever