DevilDriver -Dealing With Demons I

DevilDriver
Dealing With Demons I
Released 2nd October 2020
Groove Metal /Melodic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

Groove metal has never really been one of my favorite metal genres. To be honest with the exception of one old Machine Head album, the only groove metal band you will find in my music collection is Devildriver. I’ve been following their career since the self-titled debut album, which, despite its many faults, gave us ‘I Could Care Less’ and helped to bring frontman Dez Fafara some recognition within the metal scene. I actually first discovered him via his first band, the cringe-worthy nu-metal outfit Coal Chamber. Yes, I too went through a very brief nu-metal phase as a teenager and Coal Chamber’s ‘Chamber Music’ remains a guilty pleasure of mine… Anyway, Devildriver is a better and much more serious band that I’m not embarrassed to like. They are really good live and they have produced a few memorable albums over the years. This brings me to the newest studio effort ‘Dealing With Demons I’, part one of a two album concept.

Despite the profound lyrical themes reflecting Fafara’s personal experience of social anxiety and agoraphobia, Keep Away From Me seems like an odd choice for an opening track. It’s rather slow to start with and I really did not like the droning guitar riffs and slow drumming in the intro. That is something you would expect to hear from a doom metal band, not Devildriver. Luckily it gets better later on – past the first minute mark and the groove metal riffs enter the fold. It’s still slow but at least it finally got going. So not the best start to the album…Luckily the next few tracks are better. The vicious-sounding Nest of Vipers may not the best song on the song on here but it features a varied paced and some good groove metal guitar riffs.

For me the real album highlights are: Iona with its haunting, down toned riffs and equally creepy growls and Wishing – a classic DevilDriver song with a memorable chorus and the best guitar parts on the whole record. The latter is without a doubt my favorite and the song that I’ve played the most. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara), deserves a mention just because I really struggled to tell the two vocalists apart. Simon Blade Fafara sounds a hell of a lot like his father. I cannot fault the guitar work though.

In summary ‘Dealing With Demons I’ takes a few listens to get into. I would compare this to mood swings, here are the highs and then there are lows. I really liked some of the tracks, the others grew on me after a while but some never did. Considering that this the first of a two part album concept, I think that it shows some promise but it could be better. Bring on part 2!

6/10

Iza Raittila

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