A decade into a career teeming with wide-eyed, teeth baring anthems, DevilDriver have hit something of a dynamic stride of recent years. With 2011’s ‘Beast’ a rather more streamline throat punch than its predecessors, new full-length effort ‘Winter Kills’ retains this bile drenched venomous streak with a healthy dose of instrumental europhia and melodic stomp thrown into the mix, marking this as perhaps the most inviting release we have seen from the band yet.
Much of the insatiable flair we see here is the result of some fantastically vibrant fretwork. From heaving, bloodthirsty groove (‘Ruthless’), full throttle melodicisms (‘The Appetite’) and towering lead refrains (‘Curses And Epitaphs’), it’s not only an all encompassing versatility which impresses, but a electric sense of urgency, a unrelenting rapacity which makes for an enthralling six-string display.
Indeed, the same can be said for the white hot performance of Dez Fafara, who on occasion sounds utterly manicial. His murderous delivery in album highlight, ‘Desperate Times’, is a rabid example of extreme metal vehemence, whereas the hooks are as bluntly infectious as they have ever been. The muscular chorus in ‘Carings Overkill’ is a chest beating call-to-arms and the sure-to-be-live favourite ‘Gutted’ just begging for crowd participation.
‘Winter Kills’ distills the established DevilDriver sound and leaves us with the essence of all their previously exhibited strengths. Menacing, thoroughly modern and masterfully put together, the record is a lesson in metallic dexterity and accomplished song smithery. Even after ten years and counting, DevilDriver continue to up their game.
Written by Tony Bliss