Review Summary: Like a fine wine DevilDriver get better with age with one of their best releases so far.
It’s hard to believe that the metal tour-de-force DevilDriver have been assaulting our ears for over a decade now. I’ll be honest and say that Coal Chamber never appealed to me one bit back in the good or bad ‘nu metal’ days depending on which stance you took. Back then I didn’t rate Dez as a vocalist but his evolution over the years with this band has been nothing short of spectacular. He can now compete with the best of the melo-death crowd and on ‘Winter Kills’ he really shines.
It would be unfair to leave out the rest of the band who are as tight as ever when it comes to devastating riffs mixed with melody that DevilDriver are well known for. One of the bands strengths has always been consistency yet in this release they rise above that and really have created something excellent that any fan old or new can enjoy.
If previous release ‘Beast’ was all about the heaviest stuff that they could come up with then ‘Winter Kills’ is almost certainly trying to restore the balance found in earlier albums like ‘The Last Kind Words’ or ‘Pray for Villains’. Melody is at the forefront of the album this time round and from the word go you can tell that this is a groovier, more technical affair than the last. Search for ‘The Appetite’ which although is one their usual lame videos it is definitely one of the standout songs from the album, with devastating riffs and a confident vocal performance by Dez.
Their first single ‘Ruthless’ is not as memorable as the former suffering somewhat from being generic and predicable yet it will definitely still satisfy the long-term fans of the heavier albums. Luckily the second half of the album is particularly good, I can see many of the songs becoming DevilDriver classics and they are made for the pit as long as you don’t mind some softer moments.
Their 6th release I’m sure won’t change the view of many metal ‘purists’ but I can safely say this is one of the better albums of this year it won’t be leaving the CD player anytime soon. The band faces some stiff competition so it’s great that the replay-ability generally lacking in previous DD albums has almost been ironed out entirely.
DevilDriver should be proud of this accomplishment ‘Winter Kills’ is a brilliant album and for me it’s up there with my personal favourite ‘Pray for Villains’. This album is an good starting point for new fans of the band or even the genre as this tends to be a hard genre to get into if you dislike the vocals (for the record I used to hate screaming/growling). DevilDriver don’t deviate much from their tried and tested formula and that suits them perfectly, if they continue to produce albums like this one I’m sure we can look forward to seeing them on main stages for many years to come.