Death Valley Driver’s name implies it all; heavy, brutal metal that will attack you with tons of violence and keep you interested throughout. That is not to say that this is the best groove-type metal release out there, but it sure is an interesting, and promising release from a relatively new metal band.
The album, though only around 30 some minutes, is enjoyable and not that harsh to the ear. Granted it is very heavy, but everything is kept at a rather acceptable level so it doesn’t over power you all at once. Right off the bat, the title track “Choke the River” shows Death Valley Driver’s talent. The distorted guitars are perfect, and the bass licks add to an overall brutal sound. One cool thing about this album is that while being pretty brutal it still isn’t way over powering. A lot of the times with new thrash and death metal bands, the groups are way to overpowering, and all that over runs their musicianship. That doesn’t happen at all on this album.
Dan Hodgson’s voice is very good and heavy throughout the album, and is definitely worthy of note. While his voice style is pretty normal, I like it because I can actually understand it. His growls come through really clean, even for their unrelenting fierceness. The drums, played by Ryan Gallant, are typical of thrash/ death metal, and fit very well with Death Valley Driver’s sound.
The production of this album is very good, with just a few minor blemishes, but those are easily overlooked in relation to the whole album. As I mentioned earlier, the vocals are very clean, and the production on them is very good.
For a debut album “Choke the River” is a very promising release. While the band could work on a few things such as originality, for most of the songs sound the same, they are pretty much on track. The heavy guitars and nice bass licks really round this album out behind Dan Hodgson. For a good release, Death Valley Driver gets 3.5 stars.