Death Valley Driver: Carnivore’s Oath EP

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Death Valley Driver: Carnivore’s Oath EP
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Death Valley Driver: Carnivore's Oath
Groove Metal, Southern Rock
Diminished Fifth Records
October 7th, 2014
Release length: 18:54
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Named after a wrestling maneuver, Death Valley Driver is a five-piece group out of Carlottstown, Canada, and is a reminder that the influence of regional based music knows no boundaries. Formed back in 2008, the band build their sound ly around a Groove Metal foundation with various other styles thrown into the mix as well (according to various articles on-line at least). As time went on, they started to focus more and more and incorporating a Southern Rock and Metal touch to their material by their debut album Choke the River in 2011 through Diminished Fifth Records, their home ever since. 2013 saw the follow-up full-length titled Graveyard Dead, and a little more than a year later now find the group’s first ever EP, Carnivore’s Oath, is upon us. But does this four song outing that spans just under nineteen minutes make for an experience well worth having, or is it one that could easily be passed up?

“Coven of Ash” starts off sounding more like “Touch Peel and Stand” by Days Of The New, though takes on a bit more melody and a Crowbar twist for the chorus and following bridge. The mid-tempo performance finds some catchy grooves to the main verses that aren’t too inspiring next to the subtle melodies found in the chorus and some of the bridges that end up a bit more soothing and laid back. Meanwhile there’s “Drowning in Silver”, which sounds like something Soilwork would turn out if they continued progressing towards Modern Rock and ly left behind their Melodic Death Metal roots. The hooks are fairly catchy, though a lot more infectious in the chorus, guitar solo, and as you approach the three minute mark thanks to how beefed up they become.

“Carnivore’s Oath” keeps that bulkier sound alive in spots as well, putting the emphasis on the bass guitar for the sake of a stronger backbone. Other than some emptier sections, this works to give it additional attitude, not to mention enthusiasm that doesn’t in any way detract from the hazy laid back atmosphere. But, up to this point, Carnivore’s Oath seems to be a slow progression towards that aforementioned energy, capping off with the six minute plus “Helhounds / Gatekeepers”. When the pace picks up you’d swear you were listening to DevilDriver, but without the hostility or screaming. The grooves have a nice twang to them from the bass guitar as well, and the drumming is a lot more technical than the previous three, sending you off with a much more warm opinion about the group than you initially had upon the start of your first spin through.

While Carnivore’s Oath has its share of atmospheric and laid back performances, it’s the faster, edgier “Hellhounds / Gatekeepers” that show off the group’s strengths the best, presenting a longer track with enough bite to keep you attention far longer than the first three songs are capable of. This isn’t to say they’re bad. If anything they are just a bit too thin and only gain life the deeper into the album you get. The build of enthusiasm is an interesting progression that does make the payout at the end justify the journey. But, at the end of the day, the bland, albeit catchy music that makes up the majority of Carnivore’s Oath is enough to leave hardened Groove Metal or Southern music fans unsure about another go around so quickly, making it a release you’ll want to sample a few times first.


01. Coven of Ash – 4:23
02. Drowning in Silver – 3:31
03. Carnivore’s Oath – 4:43
04. Hellhounds / Gatekeepers – 6:17
Initial Pressing Score: 5.5/10

Death Valley Driver
Death Valley Driver

Digital review copy of this release provided by Diminished Fifth Records via Red Tentacle PR.