Wednesday, February 23, 2011

DevilDriver: Dead to Rights (2011)


I've already documented the impact Dez Fafara has had in my own personal journey with metal. In short, I was a budding metalhead in the mid- to late-90's, and Coal Chamber was one of my favorite bands. They were better than most other nu metal because they had an angrier, more evil sound. And then Dez started DevilDriver, and The Fury of Our Maker's Hand was an important stepping stone for me into more extreme music.

BeastYou're probably already familiar with DevilDriver, since they're one of the best-known bands in what's sometimes called the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. The style is similar to others in the NWOAHM (like Lamb of God, Machine Head, and Dååth), i.e., an aggressive brand of groove metal strongly influenced by the Gothenburg melo-death sound, and recorded with perfect production. You know what to expect, and DevilDriver doesn't stray from the formula. Since there's nothing new, the album can only be judged on the strength of the performance and the songs.

The performance is as strong as ever, with every instrument doing exactly what it's supposed to do, and doing it with feeling, as they say. Dez Fafara has convinced me (for the umpteenth time in the last decade and a half) that he is one of the most charismatic frontmen in metal. That's not to mention his nails-and-battery-acid gargled voice, one of the most instantly recognizable, aggressive, and all-around perfect voices in metal. Nothing at all is missing from this performance.

The songs aren't the strongest the band has ever offered, but none of it's bad. There are only three real standouts ("Dead to Rights", "Shitlist", and "Black Soul Choir"), but there are also only three songs you might want to skip ("Bring the Fight (to the Floor)", "Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened)", and closer "Lend Myself to the Night"). The rest of it's solid, if predictable material. And you can't really go wrong with that. But this kind of album shouldn't go on for 55 minutes either (you're not doing anything artsy here, and this isn't funeral doom), so it is a tad long. Unless you skip those three weaker tracks, because then it's perfect.

The Verdict: Yeah, it's predictable, but it's also good. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.


  1. I haven't checked out anything by this band since the one after Fury. Not sure why. I guess it's just too much the same. If I had more disposable income, perhaps.

  2. It is all pretty much the same. Like I said, predictable. But good anyway. So I guess it's something where you can take it or leave it, depending on how much it grabs you.

  3. I've got a couple of their albums, but I probably won't get around to checking this one out for a while. I don't dislike them per se, but honestly Devildriver have never really impressed me enough to keep me following their releases. Oddly, though, I've seen them live 3 times now.