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Devildriver - Winter Kills

Winter Kills
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 22 August 2013, 4:43 PM

It is all about going on with the world, where one’s surrounding turns up on him, appearing as violent, abusive and domineering. Thus who is safer? Who can be actually trusted with preserving the life? Maybe the winter has something to say about that, or will it wash away the dark side of man? Who knows really, only time, as always eventually, will tell. Without being the first of many to convey this sort of story about survival in the concrete jungle called the present, DEVILDRIVER just spat it out, as hard as it can be, without leaving leftovers behind, just sheer aggression stripped off positivism. After signing with the Austrian Napalm Records, subsequently being one of Roadrunner Records’ prized bands, DEVILDRIVER issue their new “Winter Kills”, furthering their insertion towards the realms of modern Death Metal seethed with various of what can be considered as melodies, later six pounders SOILWORK as a reference, yet still charging with the PANTERA / LAMB OF GOD meets the hardcoric nature of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE / CHIMAIRA grooves, as you can notice this is the heftiness of the heavily Americanized Metal defamation.

I had a few inner deliberations with “Winter Kills”. In general, as numerous releases of the same calibre, it is like a rude wake up call, a fist in the face or accurately stated as fistful of Metal. DEVILDRIVER evolved since their Nu Metal days into a rather impressive Metal act. The attribution of melodic features maintained a certain elegance to their intense riff based compositions. “The Appetite” is a possible example of their melodic renovations, it might not be your common melodic Death Metal perusal, yet I do believe that it is close enough and without lessening the quality. On the other hand, DEVILDRIVER, following their melodic intent, are still all for neck breaking, slashing with bombastic riffery, rigorous infuriated vocals on the verge of combustion and devastating with drumming bombardments. The vaporous, meaty Death Metal outrage “Caring's Overkill” and the bloody murderous “Desperate Times” are mosh pit eaters, violence on demand, though with an excellent musical induction finding that nearly seamless blend. Actually DEVILDRIVER found that junction on “Hunting Refrain”, a bit on the fringe of groovy Metalcore; I could affirm a few Death Metal steadfast elements and a sonic melodic sense enlightening with an extra ordinary soloing combination. Dez Fafara slams hard on this one, great vocals out of this veteran player.

So it would seem like a representation of flawlessness from here doesn’t it? First of all, nothing is perfect I’m afraid; second, I was still deliberating. Over time while listening to this album, I couldn’t help myself from yawning. DEVILDRIVER is an excellent piece of Metal machinery, and nothing would take that away from them, however, they sound like the next band with a probable lesser reputation. Their riffing stimulations and orientations, pivoting between Hardcore through Death to a smudge of Thrash, might be superb, but still nothing is memorable (or droning like “Gutted”). Kudos for Mark Lewis for the production and awesome sound, like the modern band next door, but regretfully, I wouldn’t come back to this one that fast. Also there are Fafara’s vocals, a fine frontman though his voice can be tiring as his vocal lines aren’t that close to be variant. Lastly, “Winter Kills” is DEVILDRIVER’s next move forward into a new horizon. Therefore, I suggest that you would get your hand dirty and tune to this one. Hopefully, in a future not far, DEVILDRIVER would upscale their melodic Death Metal techniques and elevate their efforts even further.

3 Star Rating

1. Oath Of The Abyss
2. Ruthless
3. Desperate Times
4. Winter Kills
5. The Appetite
6. Gutted
7. Curses and Epitaphs
8. Caring's Overkill
9. Hunting Refrain
10. Tripping Over Tombstones
11. Sail
Dez Fafara - Vocals
Mike Spreitzer - Guitar
Jeff Kendrick - Guitar
John Boecklin – Drums
Chris Towning - Bass
Record Label: Napalm Records


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