DevilDriver - Winter Kills
Napalm Records
Groove/Death Metal
11 songs (49'25'')
Release year: 2013
DevilDriver, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Jared

With Dez Fafara’s Coal Chamber days behind him, and six studio albums now with DevilDriver, it’s hard to believe that once in the 90s his music was entirely nu-metal. DevilDriver is such a great leap forward from those days, and they have released records that have assaulted many of our ears since 2002. Devildriver has honestly been very hit or miss for me over the years, but I did rather enjoy their sophomore album The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand and The Last Kind Words quite a bit. DevilDriver’s focus has always been to be a very aggressive metal act, but also one that would rather put more emphasis on providing a more uplifting message than most bands would seem to attempt. The real question that comes to mind has to be if this album is a rebirth of something new and grand from DevilDriver or is it the same fiercely written records we have known from their 11 year history?

There’s no question that this album erupts with an ambitious attitude from the start. Oath of the Abyss opens with some great heavy and mean riffs to make the album begin with a fighting brashness. The main riff is indeed catchy and sounds just as I thought it would as well as Dez’s intense and harsh vocal performance. The first initial track put me in a pretty good mood for this album and what was left for me to still indulge my ears in. Ruthless, which I believed was one of the first songs made available for listen, doesn’t really capture the essence the first track so easily did for me. This track just felt more like a warm up song due to its simplicity, but there was little reason to lose interest over one bad track. The following track, Desperate Times, amps up the album back to how it started. Surprisingly enough, the main chorus here is not only angry sounding, but catchy. Usually I don’t refer to many choruses from DevilDriver as catchy, but this one was especially so.

The main title track, Winter Kills, begins with a pretty interesting guitar lead, but jumps into another simple minded track. There’s no doubt that this song is indeed heavy like all the tracks, but it really didn’t keep me hooked or noticing anything mesmerizing from the song. The same feelings went through my mind with the track following this one entitled The Appetite. Once again the track is heavy, but didn’t really bring forth anything that I found appealing to me too much. The song Gutted however was a bit more neck destroying than I was guessing. It does have a stern fighting feel to it with some of the heaviest riffing found on the album.

My absolute favorite track on this album came with the song, Carings Overkill. The opening riff is so massive and was literally impossible not to find myself snapping my neck in two. The song even tends to sound darker as it progressed forward, making for me, the best experience I had on this entire album. The album’s ending did end better than expected with the track Tripping Over Tombstones, which had a faster metal vibe. Probably the most interesting track is the last one, which is a cover of a song by the indie band Awolnation called Sail. It’s definitely a different experience from the band, but also has a lot more meaning for DevilDriver than most will hear. The idea of “sailing” serves as a metaphor for touring, and Dez found the song more than appropriate to add to his latest music offering.

Despite my favorite album being The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand from DevilDriver, Winter Kills is still a pretty good record to get acquainted with, especially for those who have been following the band. Their groovy death metal sound is still very much intact with their latest submission to the metal archives.

Killing Songs :
Oath of the Abyss, Desperate Times, Gutted, Carings Overkill, Tripping Over Tombstones
Jared quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by DevilDriver that we have reviewed:
DevilDriver - Pray For Villains reviewed by Khelek and quoted 72 / 100
DevilDriver - The Last Kind Words reviewed by Dylan and quoted 80 / 100
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