Having released a strong catalogue (2003’s self-titled, 2005’s ‘The Fury of Our Makers Hand’, 2007’s ‘The Last Kind Words’, 2009’s 'Pray for Villains' and 2011's 'Beast’), DevilDriver return with the fantastic ‘Winter Kills’. This is, again, a different path that the band have taken although that is something to expect from this band by now. Never truly sticking to the same path is something they believe in and it works. Always offering something a little different from past albums always makes them seem like they’re releasing a new breath of fresh air. But yet, even though each release is different, there is always the DevilDriver core at heart. The band are known for having fast drumming, some excellent guitar work, catchy hooks and intense vocals with a bassline that pounds away to act as the main filling to an already tasty sandwich. To say that there are stand out tracks would be hard because each track is something that is a little different but beautifully pleasant to hear. And that is what makes the band so different from most others.
The album begins with an excellent and tasty number entitled ‘Oath of the Abyss’. A song that sets the mood and tone of the album, it pounds on just over 5 minutes and 30 seconds. It has an interesting that is a little eerie but kicks into a great, doomy feeling riff that is heavy as hell. Dez kicks in with his brilliant vocals and it becomes even more intense than previous. It has a rather catchy hook and intense riffing with thunderous drums and a ever-present bassline. The song finishes with a soft-ish outro and makes the song feel complete. It definitely serves as a fantastic opener for an album that you already know will be great to listen to. The album moves into their single from the album, ‘Ruthless’ and that is exactly what the song is. Another catchy, intense, heavy riff with some beautiful drumming and perfectly fitting bass.
This song continues to boast some fantastic vocals from Fefara and moves on at a fantastic and consistent pace with a very catchy hook. Throwing out no excess, the song explodes throughout and boasts just how consistent the band is. The song moves into the next, the fast and perfectly crafted ‘Desperate Times’. As expected, great riffing with the perfect bassline. On this track, it is the chorus and drumming that sticks out however. The drums are powerful and constant as the snare is pounded and the double-bass drum pedals are used to furious and devastating effect. As for the chorus, the guitar works with the vocal lines and it is bound to get you at least humming along to it. The song pounds away, carving a path for the next.
The next song is the title-track. It immediately begins with a great riff and then kicks in some perfect guitar over the top. As the vocals fade in, there comes another great riff. Then the verse kicks in, filled with stop-start guitar that kicks into again, another great riff. Followed by an excellent pre-chorus, it swiftly moves into another epic, catchy chorus. Everything in the song feels correct and right as Dez and co. carry on doing what they seem to do best. There is the perfect bridge followed by a perfect, sinister feeling riff. Going back into the pre-chorus and chorus, this is definitely a truly fantastic track. The album then moves into thunderous, ever-present and consistent tracks ‘The Appetite’, ‘Gutted’, ‘Curses and Epitaphs’, ‘Carings Overkill’, ‘Haunting Refrain’ and ‘Tripping Over Tombstones’. Expect to hear great intros, interludes, some fantastic riffs and sometimes melodic guitars with the ever-present thunderous, pounding drums and double bass and the perfect, consistent and filling bassline that fills all the songs. Not to mention impressive vocals from Fafara and many catchy hooks. Not forgetting either to look out for the solo in ‘Carings Overkill’. The album finishes with ‘Sail’, which begins with a soft intro that is hauntingly beautiful before a heavy yet still haunting guitar riff comes in over the top.
This moves into another good riff and then into some melodic guitar work with undertones of a choir. A slower paced song on the album, Fafara is still able to make the song beautiful whilst being crushing. Filled with the great riffs and ever-present keyboard work that serves as an undertone in the song, the drums still fit and the bass still fills. An impressive and slower paced ending to the album that features a slow and melodic solo, it makes the album feel full and complete and is possibly one of the best closing songs in a while that features hauntingly delicate female vocals. The special edition of the album features two bonus tracks, ‘Shudder’ and ‘Back Down to the Grave’. To be expected, it features heavy riffing, great vocals and tasty, filling bass and drums accompanied by catchy hooks.
This album is again, another strong one from DevilDriver. It’s consistent, ferocious and a huge achievement for the band. Although it isn’t much in the way for technicality, it is still filled with so many great riffs and catchy hooks that it doesn’t seem to bother anyone. The album isn’t riff shy either, seeming as you get so many great riffs within every song. This album boasts strong performances from everyone, Dez and all, and is by far one of their best works to date. There is so much to offer here and this truly delivers the Metal goods. It is heavy, melodic, sometimes slow and down right great to blast out loud. If you’re a fan, you’ll love it. If you’ve never listened to them, then this is an album to check out for you. One of the best albums I’ve heard all year and that is saying something seeming as it’s had to compare with the likes of the highly popular ‘Asking Alexandria’ and ‘Escape the Fate’ whilst dueling with ‘Avenged Sevenfold’ ‘Avantasia’, ‘Bullet for My Valentine’, ‘Bring Me the Horizon’ and ‘Amon Amarth’ with Metal Gods ‘Megadeth’ and ‘Black Sabbath’ also releasing new material this year. This is a must for ALL Metal fans and will do more than satisfy your thirst for something truly great.