Review: “Dealing With Demons” by Devildriver

The long awaited return of Santa Barbara California Groove Metallers Devildriver is finally over with the release of a ninth studio album. Back in April 2018 Dez Farfara announced that the band had 48 songs written to be cut to 22 for a two part double album, the second part of which is slated for 2021. Fafara’s wife being diagnosed, treated and subsequently cured for skin cancer meant that touring prior to the release of the album with Static-X and Megadeth was cancelled and so the band have chosen now to release “Dealing With Demons“…

…Dez Farfara has a lot to get off his chest and that’s obvious from the very start of “Dealing With Demons” but Devildriver have always been a band who are more than the sum of their parts and savagely underrated, often described as cookie cutter, something which they are far from. The atmospheric opening of “Keep Away From Me” has distinctive Blackened Death Metal vibes with Austin D’Amond impressing on the kit from the very start, while the use of tapping sections helps drive the dynamic home like nails in a coffin. “Vengeance Is Clear” is very much a throwback to the bands 2005 record “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” with a venomous gallop and a do or die attitude, the backing vocals giving a fist pumping gang chant style moment. Common lyrical themes that have marked Farfars’s cryptic writings since Coal Chamber first appeared include mistrust, betrayal and of course the dark side of humanity and nothing changes here. Continuing the haunting intros, “Nest of Vipers” has the slick leads that we heard on “Outlaws ’til The End“, Mike Spreitzer having what it takes to go head to head with the best of them with a song loaded with classic Groove and riffs a plenty…

…A gothic nightmare of a love story in “Iona” is a neat left turn with sinister brooding atmosphere while the subtleties are the difference between this album and 2016’s “Trust No One“, this new record a clear continuation with obvious parallels. One such subtlety is the clean vocals on “Wishing“, which is something we’ve not heard from Dez Farfara in 23 years of music. They’re gritty and soulful and make the song a classic stand out from the first listen, catchy with sing-a-long ability while using the uncleans as a a contrast point. Spreitzer also has a couple of glorious solos and the song comes off as the Devildriver equivalent of “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera. “You Give Me A Reason To Drink” sees Dez joined by his son Simone Blade Farfara, who has a band of his own just starting out. Keeping it in the family and giving his son a moment in the limelight is something we’ve seen before with the likes of Soulfly, Max Cavalera giving his son Ritchie the same opportunity and the result has seen Incite tour with them regularly. Here it works just as well on a powerhouse cut that bites, the younger Farfara’s uncleans being surprisingly close to his father’s and the pair intertwine perfectly…

…”Witches” may not be the strongest lyrically with vocals that boarder on rap screams with fast lyrical flow in the verses but musically it’s a rhythmic groove battery pile driver that just keeps going, fueling the fire of the earlier work. The title track “Dealing With Demons” is a headbangers delight, energetic and aggressive with plenty of punch, looking for a way to appease the demons being something that we can all resonate with before the whirlwind of “The Damned Don’t Cry” kicks up a storm. Thrash touches and slide guitar esq leads light the blue touch paper while the staccato riff breaks are a solid punch in the gut. Anxiety is at the lyrical root of “Scars Me Forever“, perhaps more of a title track than the title track itself as it’s soaked in atmosphere and just as personal. “Outlaws ’til The End” gave the band the opportunity to introduce new elements to their sound and a number of those are carried over into this record, which grows on you with multiple spins due to the personal nature of the lyrical themes. A solid addition to the bands career which seems set for a further trio of records before a five year hiatus is planned, part two of this record is something that we can’t wait for [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Keep Away From Me
  2. Vengeance Is Clear
  3. Nest of Vipers
  4. Iona
  5. Wishing
  6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (ft. Simone Blade Farfara)
  7. Witches
  8. Dealing With Demons
  9. The Damned Don’t Cry
  10. Scars Me Forever

Dealing With Demons” by Devildriver is out now via Napalm Records


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *