sat 23/03/2019

CD: DevilDriver - Outlaws 'Til the End Vol 1 | reviews, news & interviews

CD: DevilDriver - Outlaws 'Til the End Vol 1

CD: DevilDriver - Outlaws 'Til the End Vol 1

Full pelt metal blitzkrieg on a bunch of country classics

"They've got to ride forever on that range up in the sky"

The heartland of America burns a special candle for two genres in particular: country music and heavy metal. What’s curious, then, is that there’s not been more cross-breeding between the styles. On a cartoon level, this can be attributed to one being God’s music and the other, Satan’s, but you’d have thought that would only encourage determined, disenfranchised teenagers in Lexington, Kentucky, or wherever. It is left, then, to Californian band DevilDriver to join the dots.

Mega-tattooed frontman Dez Fafara made his name with Nineties nu-metallers Coal Chamber but the last decade-and-a-half has seen him focused on DevilDriver. With their eighth album, then, after long establishing themselves as a brutal metal force, Fafara pays tribute to his outlaw country music heroes with a set of cover versions. He’s not the first to bridge these two worlds. Indeed, one of the album’s many guest vocalists, Hank Williams III, has long performed concerts featuring one set in each style. Outlaws ‘til the End Vol.1, however, is much more metal than country.

At first, I was disappointed at the relentless reliance on savage drums, shredding guitar and Fafara’s voice, which sounds like a raging demon gargling shale. There was an opportunity here to do something much more interesting. However, once the ear settles in, these interpretations, which sound nothing at all like the originals, dementedly, cacophonously transform cuts such as Willie Nelson’s “Whisky River”, George Jones’s “If Drinkin' Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)” and Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around”. As glimmers of the actual tunes and melodies spark from the band’s angle-grinder assault, there’s a punk pleasure in it.

DevilDriver are assisted by vocalists such as John Carter Cash, Lee Ving of FEAR, members of Lamb of God, and others, but it’s Fafara’s brain-pounding ideal that crushes all before it. A propensity for the epic sometimes undermines the visceral thrills but when they get it right, as especially on a galloping tank attack on Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” and a fantastically deranged take on The Eagles' “Outlaw Man”, it’s a sheer kick.

Below: Watch the video for "Ghost Riders in the Sky" by DevilDriver
 
As glimmers of the actual tunes and melodies spark from the band’s angle-grinder assault, there’s a punk pleasure in it

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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