DEVILDRIVER shocked me with their unique style on their debut self-titled effort, but I wasn’t convinced that they were “the next big thing” as some people claimed. Sure the debut was good but it definitely wasn’t great. So I was eagerly waiting to see if this so called next PANTERA (Phil Anselmo claimed DEVILDRIVER was the next PANTERA in fact) was just a one trick pony or a legit deal. So when the release of “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” came I was in the store on day one to pick it up.
To say that DEVILDRIVER changed their style would be wrong. Really this album is just a refinement of their unique blend of Post Thrash and Nu Metal rather than a change of style as some fans claimed it to be. Not near as catchy as their debut, “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” placed a greater emphasis on the Metal part rather than the Nu this time around. And right from the get go with the track “End of the Line” listeners can hear just how much the band had matured in two years.
Musically, “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” has a greater variety in general but the biggest difference (at least to my ears) was the increased focus and thought that went into the guitars. Rather than the stop and go riffing that was found on the debut, the band has created a wider range of guitar tones and sounds that really opened them up. Losing their original guitarist seemed to actually be a blessing for the band. Melodic intros and sections smoothly meld into vicious Post Thrash riffs and even some differentiating guitar parts. One guitar plays a riff and the other plays a melodic riff over it (although they are not really leads in the classic sense of the word). The leads are actually audible on this album and there are plenty of catchy moments in almost every song.
The bass has finally taken a step back and a step up. The bass is not near the motivating force it was prior but now it helps keep the music in line and really works as a support structure for the guitar parts. Also it seems as though the bassist has stepped up his playing abilities and worked on not being near as sloppy. I think it is very important to mention how monstrous the drums are on the album. This is some of the best drumming I’ve heard from a newer band in years and the drum patterns and playing on this album are superb in every sense of the term. The precision is lacking at times but the variety and technicality of writing make up for it two fold.
Dez actually steps back on this album a bit and pulls away from the variety he used on the first album. He uses his guttural barking almost the entire time on the album (up until one of my favorite tracks “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” at the end of the album). And he delivers each track one right after another in his unique way without ever really touching his COAL CHAMBER days.
I think, in the end, the band is just working better as a whole. Rather than a “side project” mentality, the band is operating as a machine with each member using the others to crank out a product that is both quality and timely. Everyone in the band has done their part to increase the abilities of the band as a whole – and “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand” is proof of their work and dedication.
Songs to check out: “End Of The Line”, “Just Run”, “The Fury Of Our Maker’s Hand.”
(Online November 30, 2008)