While Devildriver’s first two albums defined the band’s power-groove sound, the band mixed thing up with their 3rd album ‘The Last Kind Words,’ by injecting a large amount of melo-death influenced parts into the formula.
With their fourth album, ‘Pray For Villains,’ the band took things one step further, releasing their most diverse and multifaceted record to date. A mixture of tempos, more clean sections than ever before and the introduction of emotional sounding guitar leads mixed in with the twiddling kind gives ‘Pray For Villains,’ a different feel than all previous Devildriver albums, whilst still retaining the overall style of ‘The Last Kind Words.’
On this album, drummer John Boecklin stepped up his game to a ridiculously high level, to the point where it sounds like they’ve hired a new drummer altogether. John plays at least an entire third of the album in as blistering a fashion as you would expect from a drum solo, with more of the music than ever being drum centric.
In fact, the whole band are on top form in terms of performance and creativity. Combine this with a solid production job and the aforementioned songwriting and you’ve got a really strong album indeed.
Highlights include the sinister ‘Pure Sincerity,’ which chugs along at a Pantera pace, with the exception of ridiculously fast kick drums keeping the overall tempo up until the song finally erupts around the three and a half minute mark into all out high speed aggression.
‘I’ve Been Sober,’ is an exiting and diverse song that shows of Boecklin’s previously mentioned drumming very well in addition to some of the band’s strongest ever lead guitar work and a superb powerful vocal performance from Dez.
Finally there’s ‘Another Night In London,’ which delivers everything you’d want from Devildriver and will doubtlessly feature in their live show for the foreseeable future.
Overall, Pray For Villains is a very strong record, introducing many new elements into the band’s sound without betraying what they set out to be. If you like the band I can’t recommend this album enough, it is the sound of a band maturing and evolving without compromising what they are about.