Winter Kills Review

artist: DevilDriver date: 02/11/2014 category: compact discs
DevilDriver: Winter Kills
Released: Aug 27, 2013
Genre: Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Number Of Tracks: 11
DevilDriver drive home a collection of new hard hitting anthems with their recently released studio album, "Winter Kills."
 Sound: 7.5
 Lyrics: 6.5
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) 21 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.7
Winter Kills Featured review by: UG Team, on august 27, 2013
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 7

Lyrics: 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." // 8

Overall Impression: 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.

// 8

- Lou Vickers (c) 2013

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 7.3
Winter Kills Reviewed by: DeadxFreedom, on february 11, 2014
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: California-based metal giants DevilDriver have returned with their sixth full-length studio release Winter Kills - the band's first record since departing from long-time label Roadrunner and signing with Napalm Records. DevilDriver's last record "Beast" was one of the band's strongest and most relentless efforts to date, seemingly a tough act to follow. Thankfully, however, Winter Kills rarely disappoints, and with this release DevilDriver have somehow managed to expand on their creativity more than ever. 

Despite the transition between record labels and the departure of bassist Jonathan Miller, "Winter Kills" is by no means a polarising shift in tone from the band's last effort. As far as DevilDriver are concerned, they've always been one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kind of bands - their raw, powerful style, with uncomplicated yet catching riffs, refined groove rhythms and frontman Dez Fafara's renowned vocals - is an effective structure which needs little, if any, adjustment. // 8

Lyrics: "Winter Kills" starts off with "Oath of the Abyss," synths slowly fading in and building with an Egyptian kind of sound to them… before you're hit by a sudden and unexpected pick slide and blast of heavy drumming. Cue the first infectious riff of the album. The track soon descends into a cacophony of aural chaos, with immensely tight drumming and structured guitar work holding everything together and setting a consistent tone for the record as a whole. 

In true DevilDriver fashion, the next few tracks "Ruthless" and "Desperate Times" remain pretty consistent with groovy riffs, immaculate drumming, and, of course, Dez's trademark blood-curdling yells. On to the album's title track, "Winter Kills" - easily one of the most catchy tracks on the record. Kicking off with a simple palm-muted chugging riff and intricate drum pattern, "Winter Kills" doesn't take long before one of the most memorable guitar hooks I've heard on an album this year drops. From this point of the album onwards, DevilDriver will effectively have you eating out of their hand. 

Following the album's ferocious title track, things quieten down a little with the clean guitar intro for "The Appetite" - until you realise that you've been lulled into a false sense of security. Yet even more hard-hitting, heavy grooves are imminent - not giving you much of a breather from the unending brutality showcased on the record. // 5

Overall Impression: Having passed the halfway mark of "Winter Kills," this is the point where the album began to let me down a little - not due to lack of musicianship or amazing production, but simply due to a lack of variety. It begins to feel like you're just listening to one long track, as they all seemingly blend into one another, but this may just be me. The eleventh and final track is worth noting though - a rather unusual cover, of AWOLNATION's "Sail." Metal bands taking on the task of covering an electro/indie track is typically unheard of, but yet again DevilDriver don't disappoint - doing the original track justice whilst also adding their own unique twist. 

I have no major gripes with "Winter Kills" other than the album dragging a little past the halfway mark. Despite this, overall, DevilDriver's newest effort is an amazing album with great musicianship, songwriting and production all-round.

Ultimately, "Winter Kills" has my vote for being one of the best metal album releases of 2013 - and I'm very keen to see how DevilDriver will follow this up with their next release. // 9

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear