Album Review: DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons I

Dez Fafara digs deep on part one of DevilDriver’s demon-driven double set…

Album Review: DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons I
Nick Ruskell

Ever since Coal Chamber’s debut album in 1997, Dez Fafara has been purging himself through his lyrics. He has covered every possible form of mistrust, betrayal, the dark side of human nature and his own personal pains, always letting it all hang out, but since, “Over the course of these last few years we’ve fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic,” the DevilDriver frontman has decided that he wants his future endeavours to take what he calls “a more woke” tack. But first, he’s building a bonfire for his demons across two albums, and setting them alight in furious fashion.

Part one is razor-sharp and full of acidic venom from the get-go, as Keep Away From Me grinds its way forth. Dealing in part with Dez’s agoraphobia (“I’ve been social distancing since I was born,” he explains), it’s as honest and open as anything he’s ever written, but there’s also a more of our time feel to it, a call to be conscious of our separations and the importance of keeping together in tough moments. Vengeance Is Clear and Nest Of Vipers are more of a blunt instrument, with the thoughtful undercurrent of the opener replaced with white-hot anger, while You Give Me A Reason To Drink is absolute bile.

Throughout, DevilDriver are taut, tight and tenacious. Dez’s invective sits atop a pile of riffs that are as spiky and barb wire-sharp as they are catchy. Somewhere between Cannibal Corpse and Parkway Drive, DevilDriver occupy a space where crushing heaviness and the catchiness of a particularly lucky fisherman are one and the same. And when they’re belting it out like this, that wrecking-ball power is magnified tenfold.

Part II will doubtless serve up a similarly caustic batch of metallic heft. Together, this will make a fabulous chapter-ending for the demons of which Dez speaks. And while whatever new feeling this next step will bring out, as a way of giving the bad times a final fuck off, this is an exorcism that’s truly compelling.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Lamb Of God, Parkway Drive, Machine Head

Dealing With Demons I is out now via Napalm Records.

READ THIS: Dez Fafara: The 10 songs that changed my life

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