DEVILDRIVER, Winter Kills (2013, Napalm)
By the sacred waters of Lake Cachuma, at the darkest hour of the desolate California winter, the jerkalope goes to die. Felled, like all the warriors of his kind, by ink poisoning, the jerkalope in his throes sloughs off his overtinctured skin to reveal at last the one true soul tattoo emblazoned on his unburdened brow, the mystical mark of all which is aggro and pure. And though the crows may feast on his rotted flesh and carry away his lesser osseous leavings, they dare not disturb the jerkalope’s inviolable headbone, so that pilgrims to the mystic shores of Lake Cachuma may gaze on the gnarly remains of the brutal and pray to the souls of them who have voyaged to the great circle pit beyond.
This fucking band. God damned DevilDriver. It’s not that they’re offensively bad, it’s that they’re offensively bland, gratingly mediocre. Fake tough-guy bullshit groove death metal. DevilDriver wants so desperately to be “hard”, but there’s no musical conviction there, only sanitized double bass and just enough melody to go down easy: death metal for video games and minivan dvd players. This band is the walking embodiment of corporate metal, the tools dishing out exactly the pseudo-rebellious pap that angry teenagers with a little disposable income crave. It’s astounding and depressing that Dez Fafara has been able to successfully pull this prank twice, once with the bottom-scraping nu-metal troglodytes Coal Chamber and again with DevilDriver. He’s a talentless weight around the neck of Heavy Metal, a visionless shit merchant trying to pass tattoos and tour buy-ons for talent. I’d say that DevilDriver can’t go away too soon, except that the minute they’re no longer profitable, Fafara will rise again to play dub slam or whatever it is low-achieving mouthbreathers are listening to in 2020.
— Friar Johnsen