Album review: DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons Vol. II

Santa Barbara outlaws Devildriver are still wringing righteous thunder from those clouds over California on pummelling 10th album.

Album review: DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons Vol. II
Sam Law

What a difference a few years can make, eh? When DevilDriver dropped their ferocious ninth album Dealing With Demons Vol. I in October 2020, few would have imagined that we’d see 31 months and major line-up changes before the arrival of Vol. II. With the end of COVID, the departure of guitarist Neal Tiemann, drummer Austin D’Amond and bassist Diego Ibarra, and the arrival of Alex Lee, Davier Perez and (the returning) Jon Miller, this harsher, heavier follow-up hits different.

Not in the least a cobbled-together sequel, DWD2 is a Return Of The King-style concluding chapter borne from the same 2018/2019 sessions as its predecessor, with frontman Dez Fafara purging the deepest, darkest untouched recesses of his tangled psyche with authentic, infernal abandon.

I Have No Pity is a tellingly merciless entry-point, dragging listeners headlong into a maze of whirring groove-metal gears. Mantra serves up the sort of circle-pit stoking riffs that made their most neck-wrecking classics tick. Nothing Lasts Forever snarls and gnashes with the ravenous savagery of a pack of wolves before Summoning stomps through in a steel-toe-capped rage.

As with its predecessor's 10, these nine tracks peak when Dez is most frankly confronting big ideas. Through The Depths, for instance, finds gut-punching heft in its portrayal of a “higher power’s” disdainful worldview as humanity fails to take responsibility for problems of its own making. Penultimate offering If Blood Is Life, meanwhile, manages to evoke City Of Evil-era Avenged Sevenfold with its high-drama rumination on time wasted looking in the rearview.

This Relationship Is Broken drops curtain with a climactic, conclusive purpose – blending the epic and the intimate – that suggests this is indeed the end of an era for Devildriver. It feels like a promise, too, though, that these old dogs are ready to get stuck into whatever comes next.

Rating: 4/5

For fans of: Machine Head, Lamb Of God, Suicide Silence

Dealing With Demons Vol. II is out now via Napalm

Read this: DevilDriver’s Dez Fafara: “You’d be surprised how many Freemasons are in metal bands”

Check out more:

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?