DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons Vol. II (Napalm Records)
Without much thought, one could easily recite a handful of movies, books, or songs that dealt with the concept of 'if tomorrow was your last day on Earth, how would you live it?' Yet, for legendary vocalist Dez Fafara, that sentiment was up until very recently far from fiction. After contracting COVID-19 in 2021, the virus nearly proved fatal to the frontman, and the road to recovery was long and difficult. In an interview with Jose "Metal Ambassador" Mangin on Sirius XM Liquid Metal, Fafara stated "All I could think about was writing one more song, playing one more show...that's what kept me going."
And on he will go as Dez and the members of DevilDriver proudly release their tenth full length album, Dealing With Demons, Vol. II. Rejoined by founding bassist Jon Miller just in time to celebrate twenty years together, the album is not only a much anticipated follow up to Dealing With Demons Vol. I, but also, a visceral testament to the will to endure and grow stronger.
Coming out the gates swinging with the throaty distorted guitar styling now synonymous with DevilDriver, "I Have No Pity" live up to its name. As pummeling as it it is catchy, the grooves are stacked behind a searing solo delivered by ax man Mike Spreitzer. Picking up the pace with the circle pit inducing "Mantra", the icy riffs are nearly impossible to resist headbanging to.
Switching gears into a low tuned, churning number, "Nothing Lasts Forever" enters into territory shared with bands such as Carnifex and Fear Factory. Likewise, the immense heaviness of "Bloodbath" is certain to be exactly that if it makes an appearance on a future setlist.
With a career spanning over three decades and comprised of fronting two ground breaking bands (the other band being nu-metal titans, Coal Chamber), Dez Fafara has no doubt seen the best and worst of the music industry, including the toll it takes on friendships, business partnerships, relationships, and on oneself. Tying these experiences with a new lust for life, closing track "This Relationship, Broken" perfectly captures the intense feelings that come with realizing it is time to part ways, as hard at that might be.
The Metal Mayan review:
Having followed DevilDriver from "I Could Care Less" (off their 2003 self-title debut) to "I Have No Pity", it's been incredible to see the band grow stronger and stronger with each release. That said, the incredible song structures combined with a recovered Dez Fafara, who is already off the scales energetic and now even more so at full health, has created one of, if not the, best release yet.
Of course I have to give it up to heavy hitters like "Mantra" and "Nothing Lasts Forever", but where the band really shines is with "This Relationship, Broken". With ten stellar albums under their belts, the competition is steep, but I would place this song in their top five best songs to date without question. The furious instrumentation, catchy melodies, and relatable lyrics are simply 13 out of 10 across the board.
To provide close proximity to home in case of an emergency, Fafara stated that the run the band did with Cradle of Filth this March was deliberately comprised of West Coast dates, with select shows in the Rocky Mountain states, Texas, and New Mexico. However, as of this writing, he revealed to Jose "Metal Ambassador" Mangin (who makes a voice over cameo in the video for "This Relationship, Broken") that there is indeed another tour in the work for later this year.
We all of course hope Dez will take the rest he needs, but no doubt we are all anxious to see DevilDriver bring their new album to stages on the East Coast before they go on to conquer the globe.
Until then, visit your local records store and pick up a copy of Dealing With Demons Vol. II, out now on Napalm Records!
Advanced copy courtesy of Freeman Promotions and Napalm Records