Spin Cycle

winterkillsDez Fafara and the boys are back with another blessed hellride on DevilDriver’s sixth album, Winter Kills.

‘You sold me out, I sold myself in/you dealt me out/I dealt myself in…’ or  so the story goes on ‘The Oath of The Abyss,’ the lead-off track, Dez’s signature howl in full horn’s up form.

‘Ruthless,’ follows with opening guitars reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins 2007 single, ‘Tarantula,’ before launching into an almost Coal Chamber-like sing-along verse course verse.  It’s definitely one of the most commercial tracks the band has ever done.

‘Desperate Times,’ is a nice speed metal piece that keeps applied pressure on one’s throat even as the rest of the head thrashes in unison with the melody.  The albums title track finds dueling guitars pummeling both sides of the brain alternating between an almost locomotive buzzing  before laying off in almost Swedish metal fashion in the chorus.  I personally think this should be the theme song for season four of Game of Thrones.  Separate bones, y’all.

While ‘The Appetite,‘ has one of the worst videos of the year, musically it shows the band still has a level of diversity in their tuning and musically, it’s less commercial than ‘Ruthless.’  At this point, you’re probably thinking ‘Wow…five songs in and the new DevilDriver is pretty damn good….should I get my hopes up for the rest of the album?’

The truth is….’Yes.  You won’t be disappointed.’  Everything Dez said about this album being a big hook album and full of grooves is true.  It’s probably their best album since The Last Kind Words (2007).

‘Gutted’ is a fairly straightforward riff while ‘Curses and Epitaphs,’ has a nice dark vibe to it with ringing guitar and an 80’s influenced solo towards the tail end.  ‘Carings Overkill,’ has an almost early Metallica breakdown and guitar solo to it that’s quite delicious.  I’ve got to make a comment on the solos here.  This album is by far one of the best DevilDriver albums in this regard.  ‘Haunting Refrain,’ is another fine example.

The standard album closes with ‘Tripping over Tombstones,’ which has a somewhat punk metal feel to it in the chorus.  It features some chunky riffage that recalls Godsmack a bit too.

The deluxe edition includes a cover of AWOLNation’s ‘Sail.’  There’s not a lot I can say other than it’s the metal version of a song that’s gained too much attention in stripper circles as it is…  I personally don’t understand how ‘Shudder,’ could be considered a b-side or non-essential to the core album.  It starts off like something from Fear Factory before launching into some crazy good riffage.  Final track on the deluxe is ‘Back Down to The Grave,’ and it’s a solid closer.  So that’s it kids…the new DevilDriver is a great stress reducer if you’re not in the 50+ demographic.

Album highlights include:  Ruthless, Desperate Times, Winter Kills, The Appetite, Haunting Refrain, Shudder (bonus track)

Grade: A

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