|Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal
July 14th, 2009
Release length: 56:27
Put simply, the band seems to have taken a few steps back with their sound. Not only do they retain a little bit of the melodic death sound from their last band, much of the music has reverted back to the days of the band’s first two albums, while adding a hard rock, even glam rock at moments, sound to the music. On first listen, this will be one of the biggest let downs of 2009. However, if you approach this release knowing it’s a new release, or just give it time to sink in, it’s not all that bad a release. The heavy melodic death fused tracks are still here, such as “Pray For Villains”, “I’ve Been Sober” and “Waiting For November”. Sadly, there are only a handful of tracks like that, as a good majority of this release seems to be fueled with hard rock riffs starting with “Pure Sincerity”. And, whether it’s due to the accusations or not, there is also a huge touch of nostalgia thrown in the music on this album on certain tracks. Take “Back With A Vengeance” for example, your first listen to this song will leave you puzzled, scratching your head thinking “No, they didn’t seriously do that, did they?” But, sadly they did. DevilDriver has some tracks in the vain of the music at the end of the career of the vocalist’s old band, Coal Chamber. While Coal Chamber was a good band for the style it played, it really conflicts with the sound that this band plays.
While the hard rock sound doesn’t completely mesh well with every song on this release, there are some real highlights to the album. Aside the superb production job on the album, and the undeniable heaviness of the music on every track, you have some really amazing songs that have some hard rock inspirations that really show some originality that metal is in dire need of nowadays. “Resurrection Blvd.” is a simply amazing, heavy as hell track with harmonized screaming for the chorus instead of singing that works perfectly. A lot of the guitar work on this release is really impressive as well, primarily being carried over as part of the melodic death style. “It’s In The Cards” has some awesome music, but the screaming vocals, unfortunately, really kill the song, but “Another Night In London” definitely makes up for it, even though this is more along the lines of their old mallcore sound that many people seem to not be able to handle, with a clear punk influence right before, and during the chorus, and “Teach Me To Whisper” is just an outright amazing track with blistering drum work that sometimes may give you a glam rock feel thanks to the guitar chords and how the vocals are performed.
The limited edition version of this release comes with four bonus songs and a making of DVD. The sad thing is, it kind of feels like it’s a way for the label to milk the fans of the band, as the bonus material, save for one song, is better then a few of the songs on the actual full length. “Self-Affliction” is just an amazing track that is a little less furious then “Teach Me To Whisper”, and “Damning The Heavens” is clearly a song that was recorded during the days of the first two albums due to the clearly lower production quality. “Dust Be The Destiny” has a bit of a doom influence, especially with the way the guitars are performed, which works very well with DevilDriver. But, the Iron Maiden cover, “Wasted Years”, is absolute garbage and will probably have you laughing so hard you’ll wet yourself. The music is pretty good, but it’s the shouting vocals that absolutely destroy it, worse then “It’s In The Cards”. The bonus DVD included in this package that features the making of is actually very well produced, and has a lot of videos that actual show the making of, unlike some of the videos out there that show the band’s screwing around outside of practice. The only complaint would be that some of the obscenities on this recording are censored!
If you’re willing to accept a change, Pray For Villains is a really good album with some tracks that should have been omitted and replaced with this version’s bonus tracks. If you’re going to buy any version of this release, make sure you pick this one up, as the bonus tracks are amazing, and “Wasted Years” will give you one hell of a good laugh that you probably need or will need. It may take a few listens to grow on you, but this release is a stand out one from this band, but not as good as their last effort.
01. Pray For Villains – 4:02
02. Pure Sincerity – 4:38
03. Fate Stepped In – 5:10
04. Back With A Vengeance – 3:42
05. I’ve Been Sober – 5:16
06. Resurrection Blvd. – 3:59
07. Forgiveness Is A Six Gun – 4:42
08. Waiting For November – 5:07
09. It’s In The Cards – 4:25
10. Another Night In London – 3:05
11. Bitter Pill – 4:25
12. Teach Me To Whisper – 4:01
13. I See Belief – 3:55
|Overall Score: 5.5/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by personal funds.