Album Review: DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons Vol II
At the forefront of the groove metal battlefield, you'll find the raging monster that is DevilDriver and the monster has been there, leading the onslaught for over 20 years.
When the world succumbed to the pandemic and life as we know it changed forever, DevilDriver seized the opportunity and refused to slow down. They released the first instalment of a two-part Dealing With Demons saga. A record full of rage and ferocity that saw the darkest recesses of frontman Dez Fafara's psyche spill out in to the open. A heavy and devastating assault to the senses for sure but it was only a taste of what was to come. Fast forward to now, 3 years later and DevilDriver's 10th studio album Dealing With Demons Vol II has exploded from the ether with a trail of destruction in its wake.
The record opens with 'I Have No Pity,' a gradual, riffy build before slamming you in the face with stomping, technical groove before Fafara's distinct growls rip the track apart. The band mean business from the onset with thunderous drumming and screaming growls of "get the fuck out of here, I have no pity!" followed by soaring solos. 'Mantra' continues the charge with blistering blastbeats and frantic yet ominous riffage whilst maintaining a well paced groove and chant-worthy choruses. 'Nothing Lasts Forever' slows the pace ever so slightly but don't be fooled in to thinking this is a slow track; if anything it's heavier than the previous two tracks with it's stomping, addictive charge and haunting spoken word elements. It's every bit as brutally ferocious lyrically with Fafara screaming "next time you come here, you better fucking turn and run!"
Next up we have 'Summoning' which opens with an atmospheric and soft dual guitar riff before descending in to a crushingly evil descent of pure thunderous cacophony lead by Fafara's ferocious screams. Another mid-tempo stomp dripping in heavy groove. 'Through the Depths' is one of three tracks that were released from the album as singles. It starts with another soft and flowing guitar riff before punching you square in the jaw; this track doesn't hold back when it starts and takes no prisoners. The drums are most noteworthy in this track due to their deafening rip-roaring relentless nature; not to mention the epic guitar solo and the technical elements of the riffs. 'Bloodbath' doesn't give you a chance whatsoever; there's no gentle riff, there's no build up, it's just pure groovy chaos that instills the need to get you moving. Fafara's vocals are still ever present and are growing more and more ferocious as the album goes on.
As the record descends in to it's conclusion, it doesn't relent and charges forward with fire and devastation. 'It's a Hard Truth' is absolutely relentless and thunderous. At this point, groove metal can have the tendency to become repetitive but this is not one of those moments. If anything it becomes increasingly addictive and this track in particular is quite emotive in nature despite the blistering heaviness. 'If Blood is Life' is another single that was released from the album and a definite future crowd pleaser with its distinctive guitar riff and classic DevilDriver style choruses. The album closer and final single to be released, 'This Relationship, Broken' sounds like it would be a slower, possibly more emotive track; but it is absolutely not that. This track is the final push and is an absolute rager. At no point has this record relented on the ferocity and the conclusion is no exception. This track will get you windmilling until your head flies off in to the abyss with chugging riffs and mad solos.
At just 36 minutes and 25 seconds long, this record doesn't hang about and goes straight for the jugular. Fafara has definitely purged his demons with this record and sent them to the firey pits of hell. As far as Dealing With Demons Vol II goes, this is an epically strong record and possibly the strongest since 2007's The Last Kind Words. If you're looking for groove filled rage with catchy hooks, thunderous drums and stunning guitarwork, look no further.
Release Date: May 12th 2023
Released By: Napalm Records
FFO: Lamb of God, Pantera, Machine Head
1) I Have No Pity
3) Nothing Lasts Forever
5) Through the Depths
7) It's a Hard Truth
8) If Blood is Life
9) This Relationship, Broken