news of former Coal Chamber singer Dez Fafara's re-emergence onto the metal
scene with a band that was decidedly more metal that the defunct nu-metal combo,
I'm sure that many thought that this wouldn't really work. And, oh, how he
proved us all wrong. From the eponymously entitled debut to 2009's 'Pray for
Villains', DevilDriver has helped pushing the bar for modern thrash metal higher
and higher along with e.g. Lamb of God and Machine Head, each album showing new
sides of the band.
Live, the band has been more than convincing too, earning their dues especially
in Europe. I have fond memories of a With Full Force festival in 2006 where I
stood in amazement and witnessed what Dez had become. It was quite different
from the front man from Coal Chamber I'd seen in Glasgow and at the Ozzfest in
Milton Keynes nine and eight years before. I have to admit that I adored Coal
Chamber and therefore was rather suspecious of this new outfit, but DevilDriver
would turn out to buried directly in my metal roots. Ace!
'Beast' is in my view not a step forward in DevilDriver's artistic development,
not by far to the same degree as 'Pray for Villains' was compared to 'The Last
Kind Words' and that album in comparison to 'The Fury...'.
I think 'Beast' should be seen as a kind of status album. This is where
DevilDriver sums up what they've learned over the past albums. It holds all the
qualities of the former albums without an awful lot of experimentation. It has
that characteristic, sweeping flow of the guitars, hard as nails and rock solid
drumming by the multi-talented John Boecklin, and Fafara's almost-screaming, yet
understandable vocal that you'd recognise anywhere.
One song eases seamlesly into the next and together they form an album that
appears like a grooving wave of metal, or like steel pearls on a wire. The only
pearl that you'd expect to stand out on the wire is the cover of the alternative
country band 16 Horsepower's song Black Soul Choir, but, f*ck off, it is one of
the best cover songs I've heard in a long time! Very cool!
The special edition comes with three bonus tracks and a DVD with five music
videos and 'You May Know us from the Stage', a one-and-a-half hour documentary
on the band's history. For fans of the band, this is a real treat. For me, the
documentary is a bit longish, but, hey, I didn't skip it in the end, did I? Go
for the special edition - it is definitely worth your pocket money!
'Beast' is a must-buy for fans of modern thrash!