Winter Kills review by DevilDriver

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  • Released: Aug 27, 2013
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 7.4 (38 votes)
DevilDriver: Winter Kills

Sound — 7
DevilDriver drive home a collection of new hard hitting anthems with their recently released studio album, "Winter Kills." DevilDriver first made an impact on the heavy metal music scene back in 2003 with their self-titled debut and included several of the band's now signature songs, such as "Nothing's Wrong?" and "I Could Care Less": both of which found extensive airplay on Headbangers Ball and helped the DevilDriver reach a large audience within the United States. Since the release of their debut, DevilDriver have been regularly issuing new albums to satisfy the palate of heavy metal fans. "Winter Kills" marks the sixth studio album in the band's catalogue, and shows the metal group continuing in their same signature direction as showcased in DevilDriver's previous releases.

Jeff Kendrick doesn't once ease up on his distortion pedal, as each song is coated in traditional crunching guitar riffs which stay true to both Jeff's established style and the heavy metal genre. Songs such as "Ruthless" are built around these same guitar riffs, and begin with some attention grabbing primal screams from lead vocalist Dez Fafara (formerly of the band Coal Chamber). Dez then sets into a comfortable pace by chanting out the lyrics to the song. Other tracks, such as "The Appetite," feature heart racing percussion beats and shows DevilDriver moving into a more significant melodic death metal style.

"Winter Kills" also features a surprising cover of indie rock group Awolnation's "Sail." The original version was mostly electronic notes put to a pulsating rhythm and some interesting vocal work. DevilDriver take this originally dull song and completely transform it with classical flavored guitar soloings and some enjoyable tempo changes. DevilDriver did such a noteworthy job at covering this song that you hear nearly no resemblance to the original; the band truly made this song their own, as a proper cover song should. Throughout the entire album, DevilDriver remain at the top of their game, rarely straying away from the style that first made them unique and it works out in the band's favor.

Lyrics — 8
Lead vocalist Dez Fafara continues to give the same powerful performance that he first started issuing both on stage and in the studio nearly two decades ago. It's difficult for a heavy metal vocalist, whose lyrical delivery is based largely around passionate screaming, to go out each night and give the same raging performance they originally gave on the studio versions. It can very easily and quickly take an apparent toll; thankfully for DevilDriver fans this is not the case with Dez Fafara. His vocals are as strong, if not stronger, than they were on the 1997 self-titled debut album of Coal Chamber, which is one of the better qualities that is proudly featured in "Winter Kills."

Overall Impression — 8
After six studio albums, DevilDriver have no intention of slowing down, changing up their signature style, or experimenting with different musical genres. What we have with "Winter Kills" is an album filled to the brim with captivating guitar playing, passionate lead vocals, rocketing percussion work and pace setting bass handling that no matter how standout, somehow find a way to coexist and make for some standout music. This is an album that comes highly recommended to any established DevilDriver fan, who should have no problem in popping the CD into their player and turning the volume up to 11.

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21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This band is so damn much fun. I don't recall a single record release that I haven't been excited about, and each album is different and satisfying, thankfully. We always want to talk about bands that are "under the radar." How a band such as this releases quality music, over and over again, and is so rarely mentioned in a discussion of today's top metal bands, is beyond me. Keep kicking ass, Devildriver. I'll keep listening.
    This album has a chance to be the best metal album of the year. So many great songs including 'Ruthless', 'Gutted', 'Haunting Refrain', & 'The Appetite'. The cover of 'Sail' is actually stellar as well. Five stars!
    They're back! Thought Beast was kind of flat, but just listened to Oath of the Abyss and this is the Devildriver I love.
    Saw DevilDriver a while back and after watching videos of them live I was worried about Dez's vocals being weak. Well he ****ing delivered that night not a single weak moment the whole show and they KILLED it! Seeing them again soon, hope I make it out of the pits alive (entire venue turns into a pit!)
    I've tried listening to these guys a few times but they just don't click. Something about Dez's vocals bother me. It's weird though, because I really liked that song Baptized in the Redemption off the Roadrunner United album.
    Saw them with Cannibal Corpse. I must get my review up on here or something. They owned the whole night. Massive pits as well that where immense. At that point I only liked clouds over california, but I can't get enough of them now. Loved thier presence and energy and it translates well into their recordings (early more so). Can't wait to listen to this! XD
    Also, Dez cannot sing live, it's almost embarrassing.
    couldn't agree less. I've been slowly turned off of DevilDriver because every album sounds less and less like last kind words (yet to listen to this one). If they made another album like that theyd be one of my favourite bands again, no doubt. as for singing, sucks to be you, I've seen them at least 4 times recently and any time they've kicked major ass and pretty much stolen the show from whoever else is playing...
    Ya they do take the show from anyone but gwar!!!!! but for the first 3 three songs of the set dez is awesome, but a few more songs in and he has trouble singing. And my town is usually the 5th one in their tours. Also this album isn't that great. The best song is the appetite.
    Rufus Shinra
    You're a tool.
    link no1
    Devildriver are one of my favorite studio bands... STUDIO bands. Dez just can't do it live. I didn't believe people saying he was bad, or that he was as bad as they said but Jeeze, I saw them live and he was just tragic to listen to.
    I love devildriver but dez cannot sing live. He sounds winded half the time and his growls sound really weak.
    That Appetite video is downright silly, lol. During the chorus they're eating ****ing hamburgers..... I'm not sure that's what the singer meant we he wrote the lyrics "Do you have the appetite!?"
    Easy...I take it as---do you have the appetite to succeed no matter what anyone tells you can or cannot do.
    Very true about dez live. I've seen DD live 6 times, dez totally saves his voice for the studio, always has. But I'd rather he do that instead of turning the whole band to shit like BMTH.
    I used to love DevilDriver (used to be my favourite band). The Last Kind Words was a very different direction for them, and they've kinda kept the same sound since then. The Fury Of Our Makers Hand is still one of my favourite albums, but while listening to "Ruthless" I started laughing at how generic their albums are now....