It must be said right away that DevilDriver’s self titled isn’t of the same quality that all of the band’s other records are. More precisely, it lacks the truly captivating instrumentation of DevilDriver’s later releases and there’s a distinct lack of good guitar riffs here and there, but what the album still succeeds in delivering is high-energy metal tunes. Straight from the opener "Nothing’s Wrong" DevilDriver settle into a nice uptempo groove that they do not once break during the duration of the album, and while a solo or a breakdown here and there would have definitely made things more interesting in the long run, the songs are still acceptable thanks to the high levels of energy that are behind them.
But, in its essence, that is actually the main problem with this album. The listener could (and should) just pick up any other DevilDriver record instead because they are much, much more interesting instrumentally, while also having the same amount of high energy this album has. There aren't any great hooks, any truly memorable riffs, or even an interesting concept of sorts here to keep listeners glued. The harsh truth is that DevilDriver was still in development stage when this album came out, and so, Devildriver
as an album is mainly a somewhat interesting retrospective on the group’s early years that demonstrates how far the band has come, but musically, is a rather boring effort. Even the band members’ individual performances here express it: Dez Fafara has yet not settled into his unique, screechy snarl, John Boecklin hasn’t developed his own perceptible drumming style yet, and even guitarist Jeff Kendrick is basically just following what Evan Pitts does in the guitar department, without showcasing any of the infectious interplay he now has with present guitarist Mike Spreitzer.
While there are some adequate cuts here, as a whole, Devildriver
fails to deliver. Though not a bad album, it is extremely one-dimensional and there is a distinctive lack of interesting musical ideas. The band plays it safe by just belting out one energetic-but-casual metal track after another. Due to the relatively short length of the disc, it is suitable for a pump-up or a driving album, but otherwise, unless you like your metal generic or are crazy about the band, you’re better off (…with DevilDriver’s other efforts).
"I Could Care Less"
"Die (And Die Now)"
"I Dreamed I Died"
"Meet The Wretched"