Devildriver considered rightfully as real hard workers: they constantly go to long tours and release albums on relatively regular basis. In disgusting 2020 lots of shows were cancelled for many bands and for Devildriver as well, but seems like musicians haven’t even though about using this forced vacation for rest: instead of this they went to the studio to record Dealing With Demons I, their ninth album.
Actually, Dealing With Demons I is the first album with original music since the release of Trust No One (2016). Outlaws ’till the End is a good cover album, so we don’t take it into account. The Idea of this album is some kind of exorcism, purging from demons (I guess, here we talk about inner ones than religious images) and every song in Dealing With Demons I shows the certain demon that you need to deal with or get rid of it.
I’d dare to say that this album is one of the most diverse in Devildriver‘s discography, while, of course, here we got everything that fans love in the band’s music in abundance: heavy sound, groove, melody and emotions. There is so much of it but at the same time so much of other things.
“Keep Away From Me” opens with dismal, slow guitar, which is changed with furious riffs from Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann, rigid Diego Ibarra’s bass and mighty, fast drumming from Austin D’Amond. No doubts, it is fierce Devildriver that takes no prisoners and this song opens the album for a reason. “Nest Of Vipers” also starts slowly and silently but after a few seconds it turns to assertive and very aggressive track with catchy and especially melodic chorus. Also this is the first song where Dez wrote lyrics together with guitarist Niel Tielman and not himself only, like it was all previous years. “Vengeance Is Clear” falls on the listener with its groovy riffs without any intro, while the second guitar adds some melody. Dez vocal here is recognizable growl, vicious but emotional though.
“Iona” sounds nothing like “usual” Devildriver: it is brutal but although melodic, especially chorus and great solo and in Dez’ voice you can hear some desolation, despite his distinctive brutal grow. Nevertheless, if we’re talking about some unusual musical actions for the band, the most standout track in this album is probably “Wishing”. It is very melodic and powerful, of course and reminds Awolnation‘s “Sail” (which was also covered by Devildriver), at least by its structure. Suddenly there some clean vocals from Dez can be heard that interspersed with snarling, and all these merged into one big catchy piece.
“You Give Me A Reason To Drink” brings Groove Metal back after grievous and excruciating, like a heavy hangover, intro. Dez even doesn’t sing here, but literally hammers every word in your head – damn, it sounds aggressive even when he whispers. There is a great solo with some bluesy motives also, which somehow fits this crushing song with some recitative from Dez, not singing.
“Dealing With Demons” brings Devildriver‘s aggression and melody back, along with Dez’ brutal growls. “The Damned Don’t Cry” suddenly makes some timid steps to Progressive but gets back to brutal Groove with bluesy solo pretty fast. And “Scars Me Forever”, which ends the album, merges some Groove and Melodic Death Metal elements.
Well, some say that Dealing With Demons I is the most vicious and heaviest album in the discography of Devildriver. I would not state it unambiguously but like I said this album is one of the band’s most diverse and emotional. Musicians also promised to release the second part of it in 2021 and I really hope it will be at least not worse than the first one.
Dealing With Demons I will be released on October, 2 via Napalm Records.
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