Album Review: DevilDriver - Winter Kills (LP 2013)

DevilDriver are one of those rare bands that doesn’t stop. They tour some 250 days of the year and then spend the rest of their time making records. Winter Kills is the band's sixth effort and this time, the band hasn’t just assaulted the ear drums with aggression and power in the music, but have also found a melodic groove middle ground which they haven’t utilized to its full extent before. This is not to say that DevilDriver have gone soft, but they have learned how to make aggressive metal music without having to go at it at a million miles an hour.

"Ruthless" is monolithic beast that thunders in with a heavy down-tuned riff and rollicking drums. Fafara’s vocals naturally distort and strain as he sings/screams/whispers/shouts out the words. It's one of the elements that makes DevilDriver so good and has given Fafara such a lengthy career in the metal scene. "Desperate Times" has a hardcore punk groove with some of razor sharp death metal riffs. The amalgamation of styles work perfectly. You can thrash your head and singalong all at the same time.

"The Appetite" is a real groove-laden metal beast. There’s venom in the vocals and a real breath of fresh air to the music. The surprise inclusion of AWOLnation's "Sail" reminds me of Dez’s former band Coal Chamber in sound and delivery. Taking indie electro pop and turning it into a bass heavy groove metal track works much better than it sounds and along with "The Appetite", gives some depth to this record.

The only criticism of this record is that it tends to sound a little bit samey half way through. Some of the tracks feel like they blend into one long 12 minute opus, instead of three four minute tracks. The downside is that after a few listens, you tend to want to hit the 'skip' button and that's never a good sign.

DevilDriver have delivered some great chops on this one and there’s plenty to keep their fan base happy and content. Its highlights are counteracted by patches of repetitiveness but maybe that's bound to happen when you release six records in ten years.

Review Score: 6.7/10