Every DevilDriver album brings a little something new to the band’s overall style and they aren’t the sort of band you could ever accuse of making the same album over and over again.
Devil Driver’s fifth studio album `Beast,’ is no exception, although you may be forgiven for fearing so had you read any of the pre-release press which seemed to threaten a very one dimensional and relentless album.
Luckily, while `Beast,’ is definitely hard and aggressive it is by no means a basic pounding assault devoid of variety. For example, moments in ‘Blur,’ wouldn’t be out of place on The Great Southern Trendkill and `Black Soul Choir,’ almost sounds like a radio single for the first couple of minutes and has a different feel to anything the band have done yet for the last few.
Unlike some albums which seem to run out of steam half way through, ‘Beast,’ keeps getting better and better, unleashing its unique characteristics more and more as the album goes on, almost easing you into the changes. The opening few songs are what you’d expect the band to make at this stage and things diverge from the formula more and more towards the albums end.
The guitar solos have a different feel to all of the band’s previous albums, they seem to have moved to a more Judas Priest sound, which helps the album have a unique identity in their catalogue.
The production is very clear which allows the music to stay heavy without becoming uncomfortable. The guitars aren’t a mere wall of sound, you have good definition which is always a bonus.
Standout moments include the aforementioned `Black Soul Choir,’ the opener `Dead To Rights,’ and the much thrashier `Crowns of Creation,’ which has some furious drumming and a big hooky chorus juxtaposing the band at their most brutal and their most catchy in addition to containing the most progressive mid section the band have written to date.
Overall, `Beast,’ is an excellent addition to DevilDriver’s cannon, finding the band doing something a bit different but retaining what defines their sound. The album is strong and will grow on you with repeat listens. Highly Recommended.
The special edition digipak comes with two studio bonus tracks and one live rendition of `Grindf**cked.’ More importantly however is the bonus DVD which features 5 music videos and a 1hr 30min documentary. The documentary covers the band’s history from formation until touring Pray For Villians and features guest appearances from members of Lamb of God, Opeth and God Forbid. I was incredibly pleased with it, it felt like a ‘proper,’ DVD like Walk With Me In Hell or The Dehumanizing Process, as opposed to the slightly shallow bonus DVD that came with Pray For Villains.