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DevilDriver “Beast”

I’m going to go against the trend I’ve seen in reviews of Beast and say that even though Beast may be harder, heavier, and faster for DevilDriver it stills falls short of what could be called “extreme” metal. Beast is a bit more aggressive than Pray for Villains and The Last Kind Words, but I’m not buying that the parts equal a greater sum in this case. If you really love DevilDriver you will probably really love Beast, for me it fell short of expectations. I had seen reviews of Beast before I got a copy so I did have very lofty expectations. DevilDriver is one of those bands that has a handful of songs that hook me in, but I tend to skip a lot of material when it rolls around in the queue.

Musically this is probably the strongest effort in a while for DevilDriver. Songs like “Shitlist” (is it ever a good plan to use the word shit in a song title?) and “Dead to Rights”, despite having some of the goofiest tough guy lyrics I’ve heard in a while, have some decent riffs in them. I’ve always considered DevilDriver more groove metal and less death metal or melodic death metal, and though they push that a little on this record they stay firmly positioned as groove metal to my ears. Songs like “Coldblooded” are more classic groove DevilDriver and reminiscent of some of the older albums. Songs like “Bring the Fight (to the Floor)” will probably work really well live in a pit but on the album it seems to have lost something of what they had in the past.

Dez is as strong as ever on this effort, in some cases even stronger. Vocally I think he is at the top of his game, lyrically, not so much. Generally I think he might have gone more for overall sound than trying to write the Great American metal song, but aside from the titles and the track “You Make Me Sick”, which is way too repetitive, it’s better than it seems at first, but not great and is a step down from the last two albums. John Boecklin seems to have hooked himself up to a set of car batteries or gotten his hands on a lifetime supply of pre-ban four loco, the drums on this release are as good as anything he’s done and arguably one of the best things on Beast. I’m not saying he’s gotten overly technical, but I am saying within the song he has released an excellent amount of aggression with skill and obvious emotion. Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer both stray a little from the DevilDriver groove metal thing and get a little more brutal, not sure how well that works, I tend to like them when they are more groove metal. Overall it’s solid and not a regression by any means, so depending on what you look to DevilDriver for you might really like the change. Jon Miller does a decent job of bridging the guitars and the drums, but I’m not hearing anything overly creative. I like it when the bass breaks out of the “role” that seems to really only exist in metal and does something awesome as long as it works for the song. I’m not hearing too much of that here but the embellishments I do hear are tasteful.

Track Listing:

Dead to Rights
Bring the Fight (to the Floor)
Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened)
You Make Me Sick
The Blame game
Black Soul Choir
Crown of Creation
Lend Myself to the Night

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