Man, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think Devildriver has finally hit that dreaded creative plateau. I’ll admit to being a Coal Chamber fan and I really loved Devildriver and The Last Kind Words (Their sophomore album, The Fury of our Maker’s Hand, didn’t really do anything for me.). “Meet the Wretched” from the S/T and “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and “Clouds Over California” from The Last Kind Words are some pretty epic metal songs. The video alone for “Clouds…” gets at least a view by me once a month. Pray for Villains got me thinking and their latest Beast has essentially confirmed it that this is a band that is running out of ideas.

Right out of the gates, “Dead To Rights” and “Bring The Fight (To The Floor)” slam you over the head with some metal. The problem is, you can barely tell either song apart.  I’m all about the heavy but damn, you gotta do something with it.

Heavy for heavy’s sake is not a good motto to live by especially in 2011. And that’s the problem I have with most of this album. There’s not much that sets it apart from other Devildriver albums or their contemporaries in heavy metal land.

Beast is not without its shining moments, though.  “Shitlist” starts out interestingly enough but devolves into a typical Devildriver song: Fast and angry.  “Crowns of Creation” has an In Flames-style riff running throughout and is probably the most interesting song on the album.

I’ve always felt that drummer John Boecklin was DD’s secret weapon and he definitely shines here again but I don’t think it says much when the best thing about a metal album is the drummer alone. And after all this time in DD, you’d think Dez Fafara would show a little range vocally (He did used to “sing” in Coal Chamber…).  Instead he has the low register growl, his mid-range sneer, and his high-range scream which are all just boring.

I guess my main complaint is that when you hit album number 5 in this day and age, you really have to step it up and unfortunately, Devildriver just aren’t.

Beast hits shelves February 22nd.

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