Devildriver’s sixth release, Winter Kills, is based on the themes of death and rebirth, and it expresses this in more ways than one.
This is their first album for Napalm Records, and first with new full-time bassist Christopher Towning. While the traditional Devildriver sound is never abandoned, they exhibit a freedom that is absent from previous releases. The musicianship shines here, and I would be amiss not to say how tight guitarists Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer have become. John Boecklin is a drum god, and he really shows all he has here and proves that he doesn’t get enough credit in the metal realm for his abilities and talent. Dez Fafara‘s vocals are spot-on and showcase why he is an icon in the metal world.
Winter Kills never really goes out of the realm of what Devildriver have developed over their career, but it showcases the circle-pit-inducing talent they really do have. Right out of the gate, “Oath of the Abyss” takes you on a violent ride; the twin guitar attack, along with Boecklin‘s signature double-bass groove, are ever-present. “Ruthless” and “Gutted” are neck-breakers, completely balls-to-the-wall and insane. “The Appetite,” which is the first single and video, is an anthem for all blue collar metal heads, and “Haunting Refrain” starts off moody and builds into an twin guitar assault that is arguably Kendrick and Spreitzer‘s best work to date. “Tripping Over Tombstones” is one of my current favorites, and it seems to epitomize everything Devildriver are about.
The last song is a cover of AWOLNation‘s “Sail.” I’m kind of up in the air here, and while I do enjoy the melody and moodiness of the song, it just gets a bit repetitive. I admire them for breaking the mold and trying something out of the box, though, and I’ll let you all judge for yourselves.
In all, Winter Kills is Devildriver‘s best yet. Their is a solid mix of different grooves and feels that become one cohesive unit, and each member’s talent has clearly grown. They prove that they are a force to be reckoned with and are not going to lay by the side and let any of the new up and comers take their throne.
Winter Kills is out now on Napalm Records.
Rating: 5/5 stars