DevilDriver
Beast


2.5
average

Review

by Darkvoid67 USER (31 Reviews)
March 9th, 2011 | 9 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite all of the blast beats, frantic guitar and nasty vocal work, Beast fails to hide the problems that have haunted DevilDriver for some time

You get the impression that no matter how extreme DevilDriver go and how refined their sound becomes, they have ever been able to leap out of a crowd. Their self-titled debut was awash with mediocrity, almost to the point of boredom and 2009 effort “Pray for Villains” seemed to ramp the speed up, yet loose the punch present by the bucket load in 2007’s “The Last Kind Words”. So, on their fifth album in 8 years DevilDriver return with “Beast”, full of groove, attitude and menace, but once again failing to lift the band to the level you feel Mr Fafara has always wanted to achieve.

The key problem with “Beast” is that it lacks staying power once you progress beyond the third or fourth listen, although one could argue that this has been typical of all of the band’s releases to date. While opener “Dead to Rights” crashes into life with its opening snare work and guitar fiddling akin to Meshuggah’s latest effort, from here on in the record never really picks itself up, meaning the atmospheric, chilling opening guitar’s and apocalyptic chorus of the album’s best track “***list” fail to lift their heads above the sea of mediocrity surrounding it.

Most songs save on or two open with the same style of strange, keyboard driven industrial sounds, before some rapid drum and guitar work replace them. It sounds pretty good when the band then mix up the remaining song, but when they refuse to do so efforts such as “Blur” and “Crowns of Creation” turn out to be much more forgettable than they initially seem to suggest.

Another point which should be raised is the continued nu-metal inspired lyrics of Dez Fafara which, while suiting the mood of the album perfectly are sometimes hilariously bad. Just take “Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened)” as a prime example...
“Your glue
It's not gonna stick
Tape won't mend a broken heart
and some things you just can't fix”

Despite the fact that Fafara is shouting about what the album makes out to be, it seems as if he is unable to break away from his past and make the fully fledged split from his previous band “Coal Chamber”, perhaps best known for producing one cracking song (Loco) and then producing a ton of other, mediocre stuff.

To criticise the frontman delivery-wise would be unfair, as he sounds as angry as ever (key to the DevilDriver recipe) but it feels as though the rest of the band don’t really pull their weight to make up for the poor lyrical content. “Coldblooded”, released as the second song which is somewhat odd seeming it is easily the worst on the album seems to promise much, with its industrial openings, yet devolves into one stagnant track that is decidedly middle of the road in both execution and instrumentation. The rest of the album then plays out in an unforgettable experience, save for one hidden gem. “Black Soul Choir” may not be the fastest, heaviest or the best song on the album but its lead guitars and rapid fills down the drum kit give it an undeniable catchiness, and make it sound as if it was listed straight from one the bands best effort to date “The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand”.

It really is a shame that “Beast” turns out to be quite as disappointing as it is. While the band have arguably created one of their bests songs to date in the monstrous sounds of “***list” and the hardcore-inspired ferocity behind “Dead to Rights”, there is actually very little left that would encourage you to come back for a second listen. It is nowhere near a terrible release, but it lacks the sinister vibe of “Fury...” and “The Last Kind Words”, meaning that if you hated the band before, then this isn’t going to change your opinion whatsoever. If you’re a fan, you’ll doubtless have already picked this up.

Recommended Tracks:

1. Dead to Rights
2. Hardened
3. ***list
4. Black Soul Choir



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Darkvoid67
March 9th 2011


383 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I liked this at first, now I view it as pretty dam average. I need to rerate all of my DevilDriver, actually

ZomarK
March 9th 2011


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this review & rating perfectly reflect my view on this album. Well written as well! Pos

ZomarK
March 9th 2011


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like Fury, really like LKW, and got used to Villains, this just didnt make as much of an impact as I would of hoped

Darkvoid67
March 9th 2011


383 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It doesnt really make any impact tbh. DevilDriver have never really been anything more than decent

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 9th 2011


31628 Comments


Really can't agree with any of this

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

ZomarK
March 9th 2011


50 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i dont agree that they've never been more then decent, i think for there type of metal they are highly above average...besides this album for the most part lol

Darkvoid67
March 10th 2011


383 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

^Deviant. At the end of the day, this is not a good album. As the review points out, everything starts out well and then all but a few tracks fall flat on their face. I am expressing my opinion, from the other reviews I read it seems most people disagree with me, but all the hype this recieved, I expected something better

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2011


8391 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not your best review Darkvoid, to be honest. There's a lot of weird wording and a bunch of small typos here. You should beef this up.

It's cool to see this get a review with anything other than a 3.5 though and I appreciate the fresh perspective. One thing I absolutely don't agree with is that Dez can't let go of his past - that's basically what he set out to do with DevilDriver, dude. I also think that DD are one of the best bands around who could be put into that groove metal column (no, we're not going to have another argument whether groove metal is a genre or not, we just aren't goddammit!), but this already comes down to taste. My point is though that they've definitely leaped out of the crowd - even if you dislike them, you still know who they are ;).

Darkvoid67
March 10th 2011


383 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks Styles. I think a better proofread would massively help in the future, but ah well. I appreciate the fact people know who DevilDriver are, but everything DevilDriver has never actually made me sit up and think "Wow, these guys are incredible" They are just remarkably solid. Plus, even if they're not the best band in the world Pantera for me is the very sound of groove metal



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