Dez Fafara doesn’t do things by half, and if the late Neil Armstrong was still with us today, I’m sure he would replicate his famous quote in order to embrace Devildriver’s latest venture, “one small step for man, one giant leap for Devildriver”.
Dez has had to adapt to his surroundings well, and following the demise of the nu-metal phenomenon that was Coal Chamber, some 15 years ago. Dez has since rebuilt his aggressive groove metal empire in the form of Devildriver, and again he has injected his own brand of unapologetic, brazen anger into the fold.
‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ is the latest beast from Devildriver, and it will split the crowd easier than a vocalist dissecting a rabid pit in preparation for a massive wall of death, and if you haven’t heard by now, get ready to hold onto your Stetsons, this one is a country’s cover album, metal style
Now, give this album to any self-respecting Country fan and they may say its blasphemous to try to rework the all American classics, from the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams jr, yet, put it in the hands of a metalhead and they may say that its clinically astute of Fafara et al to call in some favours from some of metals big hitters, Randy Blythe, Wednesday 13 and Brock Lindow, to name but a few.
‘Country Heroes’ opens proceedings, and it is brave to start with a Hank William III classic. The instrumental orchestration is decent, and the arrangement has the Devildriver stamp all over it, I just think that they could have pushed the bar higher, in order to really show their worth on this one
They follow this with reworking’s of Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams III. One of my personal highlights on the album is the rendition of Cash’s ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’, which even has guest vocals from the main man’s son, Johnny Cash Jr, Cash’s wife and Randy Blythe, to keep things beating your aura like a 10 tonne juggernaut. Spreitzer’s fretwork is outstanding and Fafara and Blythe work beautifully in unison, with distinctness that only this duo could create,
‘Copperhead Road’ (of which a video has just been released) features the vocal echoes of Brock Lindlow, of 36 Crazyfists fame, and he has injected some bounce and soul into this track. It has maniacal riffs, and a beating percussion as a back bone, and it really is anthemic with a party kind of vibe.
Burton C Bell joins the fray for another of my highlights, ‘Dads Gonna Kill Me Again’, Devildriver have been genius in their choice of guests artists as they all seem to bring their own style to the track they are helping out on, and this is no different in ‘Dads Gonna Kill Me Again’, as there is a definite industrial grind which is reminiscent of Demanufacture at times.
This album is a bit of an anomaly, and I don’t feel that it sits comfortably in either a country or metal camp, and I fear that the only demographic that it might appease is the dedicated Devildriver hordes. If you are at a loose end though, and feel the need to go crazy, give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised, unfortunately though, I’m sorry to say, it’s just not for me.
(4/10 Phil Pountney)