Devildriver’s New Box Set Offers Audiences Plenty To Applaud

Courtesy: BMG

Veteran metal band Devildriver has been in the headlines quite a bit in recent months.  The band announced last month, it had made a pair of lineup changes, welcoming original bassist Jon Miller back to the band in place of Diego Ibarra.  Along with that change, the band also announced the addition of new guitarist Alex Lee (Holy Grail) to the lineup.  Miller was one of the founding members of Devildriver and remained with the band until 2011, when he was replaced first by Aaron Patrick, then Chris Towning and then by Ibarra.  Lee is the band’s third rhythm guitarist behind Neil Tiemann most recently and founding member Jeff Kendrick before him.  The lineup changes make Miller and front man Dez Fafara the band’s only original members in its current lineup.

Only weeks prior to the announcement of Devildriver’s latest lineup change, the band announced June 8, that it would release its new five-disc box set, Clouds Over California.  Originally, the box set was scheduled for release Friday through BMG, but then an update to that date announced late last month stated the set’s release date had been pushed back to Aug. 19.  This despite the band claiming as recently as Friday, that the box set dropped Friday.  In other words, there remains no clarity at this point on the set’s exact release date.  That aside, the collection is a set that most Devildriver fans will find just as appealing as modern metal fans.  That is due in no small part to its featured albums, which will be examined shortly.  The platforms on which the collection is available are just as important to note as the albums themselves.  This will be examined a little later.  The records’ liner notes round out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered they make Clouds Over California a shining new offering from Devildriver.  Yes, that awful pun was fully intended.

Devildriver’s new five-album box set, Clouds Over California is a positive new offering from the veteran modern metal outfit.  Its appeal comes in part through its featured records.  The records featured here are the band’s first five albums, Devildriver, The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand, The Last Kind Words, Pray For Villains, and Beast.  All five albums were released through Roadrunner Records.  All of the albums that the band has released since then have come through Napalm Records.  So simply put, what audiences get in this collection is essentially the first chapter (so to speak) of Devildriver’s catalog.  To that end, maybe BMG should have called this new set, The Roadrunner Years.

The collection by itself is impressive in its general presentation.  There is an even deeper appeal to the records because what audiences get here is not just the albums’ standard releases, save for the band’s debut self-titled record, but three of the records in their expanded formats.  Devildriver did not have an expanded edition, and The Last Kind Words allegedly had an expanded edition released through Hot Topic stores nationwide that had a bonus track, ‘Damning The Heavens.’  That extra track is not included in the record’s presentation here, but the other three albums are all presented in their expanded formats.  To that end, audiences still largely get a very special presentation of the band’s Roadrunner Records catalog here.  Keeping that in mind, the albums that make up the main body of Clouds Over California are reason enough for diehard Devildriver fans to own this collection.  They are just part of what makes the collection worth adding to any fan’s library.  The platforms on which the collection is available add at least somewhat to that appeal.

The collection is available on CD and vinyl pressings.  This means that whether one is more a fan of vinyl and all of the problems that come with it, or more a fan of CDs, audiences on both sides of that proverbial aisle will be able to enjoy the collection.  This shows that Devildriver and officials with BMG made sure not to alienate any of the band’s audiences in this case. 

Of course, the pricing for the sets is clearly (and starkly) different between them.  That cannot be ignored. The CD set’s average price point is $45.39 while the set’s vinyl box averages in at $182.74.  Those prices were figured by averaging prices listed through Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Books-A-Million, another of this country’s biggest retailers, did not list the set on either platform.  Best Buy only listed the set on vinyl while the other outlets listed it on both platforms.  Between the set’s much more affordable price on CD and the CD set’s more compact nature, audiences are going to be much more inclined to purchase the collection on that platform than on vinyl.  Those who want to shell out the big bucks and make even more room for the vinyl set are welcome to do so but the CD set clearly is going to be more appealing, at least to this critic.  Moving on from this discussion, the liner notes that accompany the collection round out the collection’s most important elements.

The liner notes that come with the set were composed by Fafara and are presented in a 20-page booklet that is new to the set.  Along with that, each of the albums come with their original liner notes.  So what audiences get in terms of this secondary content is not just the original liner notes with lyrics but a whole new set of liner notes looking back at the albums and their place in Devildriver’s history.  All of this extra content pairs with the expansive presentation of the collection’s primary content to make the collection’s overall presentation that much more appealing.  Add in the fact that Devildriver and BMG made the collection available for fans of CDs and vinyls alike and the collection gains that much more appealing for a wide range of audiences.  All things considered, Clouds Over California makes for a good way to tide audiences over until Devildriver releases its next new album, which hopefully will come sooner rather than later.

Devildriver’s new five-album box set, Clouds Over California, is a strong new offering from the veteran metal band.  It will appeal to most of the band’s established audiences as well as more casual fans of the band.  That is due in no small part to its featured albums.  The albums in question are all of the records that Devildriver released through Roadrunner Records.  Those records make up the first half of the band’s catalog.  The second half, which is also composed of five records, has come through records released via Napalm Records.  Just as important here is that three of the five records featured here are presented in their expanded rather than their standard editions, so audiences get, for the most part, a special treat here.  The band’s debut self-titled record was only presented in a standard form in its initial release, so there are no worries there. The availability of the collection on both CD and vinyl ensures that none of the band’s fans have been ignored, though the cost of the vinyl set is far more cost prohibitive than that of the set’s CD platform.  The liner notes featured with the set round out its most important elements as there are some familiar liner notes and some equally in-depth new liner notes to boot.  Each item examined here is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered they make Clouds Over California a mostly positive way to tide Devildriver’s fans over until the band releases its next album.

More information on Clouds Over California is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

Website: https://devildriver.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitter: https://twitter.com/devildriver

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

‘Rakshak’ Shows Bloodywood Could Be One Of The Next Big Names In The Hard Rock, Metal Communities

Courtesy: C Squared PR

Almost three years ago, upstart hard rock/metal band Bloodywood first started carving out its place in the hard rock and metal community when it released its single, ‘Ari Ari.’  The song, which blended the band members’ Indian musical background with a more western nu-meatl approach started was jus the beginning of a meteoric rise for the band.  Each song and each video that the band released built its fame and fan base even more, even leading to a performance at one of the world’s most respected live festival shows, the Wacken Open Air Festival, in 2019.  On Feb. 18, the band will take yet another big step forward when it releases its debut album, Rakshak.  The 10-song album joins all but one of the singles that the band has released to date – ‘Ari Ari’ is, ironically the only single not featured in this record – to make an overall presentation that given the right support, will make Bloodywood one of the next big names in the hard rock and metal communities.  That is proven in part through its noted musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical content add even more appeal to the presentation.  They will be discussed a little later.  The sequencing of that content rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Rakshak a successful debut album for Bloodywood that audiences will agree was well worth the wait.

Rakshak, the debut album from up-and-coming hard rock/metal band Bloodywood, is a successful first outing from the band.  It is a presentation that audiences will agree was well worth the wait.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question blend so many influences from one song to the next.  Case in point is the arrangement in the early entry, ‘Aaj.’  Vocalist Jayant Bhadula’s growls in this song reach the level of death metal growls a la Whitechapel front man Phil Bozeman.  His screams meanwhile pair with the rapping of co-vocalist Raoul Kerr to form the foundation for a sort of metalcore sound and stylistic approach.  That leaning is highlighted even more through the combined performances of guitarist Karan Katiyar and the added bass and drums.  There is so much going on here in terms of the instrumentation and in terms of the influences, yet it is all so well-balanced.  The end result is a work that serves to show Bloodywood is not just another nu-metal band, but a viable hard rock and metal outfit with very real talent and ability.

The infusion of the noted nu-metal and metal influences is displayed just as well much later in the album in the form of ‘BSDK.exe.’  Kerr’s rapping against the keyboards and electronics at points throughout the song is full on nu-metal in every sense.  That sound and stylistic approach is contrasted in the song’s choruses with a much heavier, guitar-driven influence.  Again, Bhadula’s death metal growls are on full display, and so are some sharper screams.  The band’s Indian influence is present here, too, just not as prominently as in some of the album’s other arrangements.  The best comparison that one might be able to make in this case is to works from the likes of Fear Factory and early works from Chimaira.  In other words, it boasts its own identity separate from that of ‘Aaj’ and all of the album’s other songs.  It is just one more way in which the album’s musical arrangements show their importance to the record’s presentation.  ‘Dana-Dan,’ the album’s midpoint, is another example of the importance of the album’s musical arrangements.

‘Dana-Dan’ is important in examining Rakshak’s musical arrangements because it also boasts its own identity.  In the case of this song, the arrangement is just as heavy as ever with its down-tuned guitars, its screams, rapping, and its rhythm section.  The nu-metal leanings are just as present as ever here courtesy of Kerr’s rapping.  Bhadula’s vocals, paired with those of Kerr and with the instrumentation helps to take the arrangement in yet another direction.  In the case of this song, his work and that of his fellow musicians gives the song a sound and stylistic approach that is similar to that of Devildriver and Slipknot.  One could even argue a comparison to works from Unearth.  That is the case even with the use of the keyboards and electronics subtly incorporated into the arrangement.  All things considered, this composition is just as heavy as any other song featured in Rakshak and at the same time, still boasts its own identity.  When it is considered along with the other songs examined here and with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes clear the importance of the album’s musical arrangements.  Of course the musical side of Rakshak is just one part of what makes the album a success.  Its lyrical themes are just as important as its musical arrangements.

The lyrical themes that Rakshak presents are important because they are each so powerful and as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements.  Case in point is the lyrical theme featured in ‘Jee Veerey.’  The theme here is one of determination.  Bhadula encourages listeners in the chorus, to ‘Live, brave one/Fight those internal storms and/Win, brave one/Weather those wounds and/Rise once again/Fly once again”  Kerr builds on that message as he reminds listeners that “We’ve all had to go/To the land down below/Where the sun don’t shine/And the moon don’t glow/Sat back/Trapped in the big bubble, saying/Chuck that man/It ain’t worth the trouble/Sound familiar don’t it/I think we all own it/A mindset that don’t seem to get/We’ve outgrown it/Now I’m sat back/Poking at the big bubble, saying/Talk back/You’re bigger than the trouble/Walk this valley of death/Head high/Say ‘I’ll be back, today I won’t die/’Cause try as we may/We can never deny/We can get back up if we’re still alive.”  Kerr’s straight forward wording is sure to connect and resonate with any listener.  This message of overcoming depression and mental health issues in general is anything but new, but is presented in a fresh way here.  That in itself is impressive.  What’s more, addressing mental health is always important.  To that end, this song’s uplifting lyrical theme is a prime example of the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  The lyrical theme featured in ‘Endurant’ is another example of that importance.

‘Endurant,’ which is one of the songs that helped build Bloodywood’s popularity, delivers a theme of forgiveness. It reminds listeners that while yes, there are people out there who want to make us miserable, we must forgive them.  This is not something easy to do by any means.  It is not within humans’ nature to forgive.  We want to right wrongs done against us.  The theme is made clear early on as Kerr comes right out and says in his rapping, “This goes out to the silent who fight the urge to get violent/This goes out with the love/bound with the power to rise above.”  Bhadula adds, “Suppressed/self-conflicted/A prisoner of silence/Sever the bonds that always made you yield/Become your own shield.”  Bhadula adds in the song’s chorus, “I am endurant/I am not a stray rock/I am the founding stone of a mountain/I am not weak/I am forgiving/Within darkness, I am my own light.”  This is a powerful overall statement.  It is another theme (and content) that will resonate with any listener with its supportive statements.  To that end, it is one more example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  Along with facing one’s own emotions and thoughts, the band also takes on the matter of facing loss in the album’s lyrical content.  That is made clear in the song, ‘Yaad.’  This deeply emotional song encourages listeners to grieve and to move on.  The release and healing happens through holding memories of those loved ones whom we have lost.  The band points this out not only in notes with the song’s video, but just as much through the lyrics.  Kerr raps here, “Your fire burns beneath the frost/An empire built between my thoughts/Crisscrossed across the line that can’t be crossed/A million memories in this melody/Singing to me/Smile/This is the way it’s meant to be.”  He adds, “With every breath/With every smile/With every sound of the beating heart/Your undying fire burns ever brighter.”  So again what audiences get here is a message of knowing the loss has happened, but knowing that loved one will never be forgotten and that no one should ever forget loved ones who have moved on.  At the same time, we cannot relegate ourselves to pining for them forever after they are gone.  It is another familiar theme that is presented in such a unique way, showing even more, the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  When this uplifting theme is considered along with the other equally uplifting themes in the songs examined here, and with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole makes this record’s lyrical content so undeniably important.  When the overall lyrical theme is considered along with the overall musical content, the whole of that content makes more than clear why Rakshak is a success.  When the content’s sequencing is considered along with the content itself, it completes the album’s picture and leaves no doubt that this record deserves plenty of attention.

The sequencing of Rakshak’s content is important because it takes the diversity of those items into full account along with the energy in the songs’ energies.  As already noted, the band takes on a diverse range of sounds and styles in its musical arrangements from one song to the next.  The group also takes on a wide range of lyrical themes along the way.  The sequencing ensures that both sides change as much as possible throughout the record’s 47-minute run time.  Along the way, the energy in the songs’ arrangements is expertly balanced.  The presentation starts on a powerful note in the politically charged, ‘Gaddaar’ and keeps that energy moving through to ‘Zanjeero Se.’  The album’s third entry, it balances the band’s heavier and softer side so well within itself, giving audiences the best of both worlds.  From there, the energy picks back up in ‘Machi Bhasad’ and carries through to ‘Jee Veerey.’  Here again is a display of the band’s heavier leanings expertly placed alongside the band’s softer side.  It is presented in a way that is unique from that of ‘Zanjeero Se,’ too.  That makes the listening experience all the better.  As the album progresses through its second half from there, the ups and downs are more pronounced in the contrasting sounds and styles of ‘Endurant’ and ‘Yaad.’  ‘Yaad’ is one part contemplative nu-metal and one part heavy ballad while ‘Endurant’ is much heavier and determined.  The thing is that even with that difference, the energy between the two songs keeps the record’s energy stable in each work, once again proving the importance of the album’s sequencing.  The album’s last two tracks pick audiences back up and get them back into the mosh pit, leaving them breathless by the record’s end.  It shows once again, the time and thought that went into the album’s sequencing.  The end result of that time and thought is that the sequencing gives the album’s presentation a positive aesthetic impact.  When that impact is considered along with the positive impact of the album’s overall content, the whole leaves no doubt that this record is a complete success.

Up-and-coming hard rock/metal band Bloodywood is primed to be one of the next big names in the hard rock and metal communities.  The band’s debut album, Rakshak, makes that clear.  Given the right support, it is certain to keep the band’s meteoric rise to fame going strong.  That is proven in part through its featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements are diverse, offering audiences elements of nu-metal, death metal, and even some aggro-rock and other influences throughout.  Those leanings are well-balanced with the songs, too, making for even more engagement and entertainment.  The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements are just as diverse in their topics.  From socio-politically charged songs to deeper works about accepting loss, and works in between promoting self-confidence among audiences, the themes touch on so many areas.  They will resonate with audiences along the way because of their familiarity and the way in which they are presented.  The sequencing of that content puts the finishing touch to the album’s presentation.  It takes into account the noted variety in the content and the energies established in each song to make a presentation that is wholly fulfilling for any listener.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Rakshak unquestionably one more of the best of the year’s new hard rock and metal albums so far.

Rakshak is scheduled for release Feb. 18.  The band is scheduled to launch a tour across Europe in support of the record in March.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

  • Sat Mar 05 2022 – Im Wizemann Stuttgart, Germany Tickets
  • Sun Mar 06 2022 – Zoom Frankfurt am Main, Germany Tickets
  • Mon Mar 07 2022 –  Die Kantine Cologne, Germany Tickets
  • Tue Mar 08 2022 –  La Madeleine Brussels, Belgium Tickets
  • Wed Mar 09 2022 –  Melkweg Amsterdam, Netherlands Tickets
  • Fri Mar 11 2022 – Gruenspan Hamburg, Germany Tickets
  • Sat Mar 12 2022 – Pumpehuset Copenhagen, Denmark Tickets
  • Sun Mar 13 2022 – BI NUU Berlin, Germany Tickets
  • Tue Mar 15 2022 – Freiheitshalle München, Germany Tickets
  • Fri Mar 18 2022 – The Factory San Martino Buon Albergo, Italy Tickets
  • Sat Mar 19 2022 – Slaughter Club Paderno Dugnano, Italy Tickets
  • Sun Mar 20 2022 – Z7 Konzertfabrik Pratteln, Switzerland Tickets
  • Tue Mar 22 2022 – LE TRABENDO (Parc de la Villette) Paris, France Tickets
  • Thu Mar 24 2022 – Prince Albert Brighton, United Kingdom Tickets
  • Sat Mar 26 2022 – Cathouse Glasgow, United Kingdom Tickets
  • Wed Mar 30 2022 – O2 Institute 2 Birmingham Birmingham, United Kingdom Tickets
  • Thu Mar 31 2022 – O2 Academy Islington North London, United Kingdom Tickets
  • Thu Aug 11 2022 – Bloodstock Open Air 2022 Walton on Trent, United Kingdom Tickets

More information on Bloodywood’s new album, single, video and tour is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/bloodywood.dehli

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Bloodywood2

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “”Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Braincell Debuts New Single, ‘Defensive Wounds,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Cowgirlzen Entertainment

Independent metal band Braincell premiered its new single and video this week.

The band debuted its intense new single, ‘Defensive Wounds‘ and its even more powerful video Friday. The song is among the most unique new hard rock and metal singles released so far this year. That is due in part to its featured musical arrangement.

The song’s musical arrangement stands out because it blends elements of so many hard rock and metal genres within its body, and still manages to balance it all. Right from the song’s outset, audiences can hear influences of Slipknot and Devildriver. As the song progresses, Whitechapel’s influence becomes evident alongside touches of Ice Nine Kills, what with the use of the keyboards. These are so many varied influences, but they work so well together here.

The press release announcing the premiere of the song and its video did not mention the song’s lyrical theme. The lyrics provided with the song’s video seem to hint at perhaps a theme of dealing with the most extreme mental health concerns. That is, of course, just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.

The song’s video is just as comparable to works from Ice Nine Kills as some of the song’s musical content. That is because it is presented like a horror story. The band is being chased by a psychotic killer in the forest, being taken down one by one. Meanwhile the band is shown performing its new single in a separate setting.

More information on Braincell’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Braincell434

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Braincell_band

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lockjaw Debuts New Single, ‘Living In My Head,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent hard rock band Lockjaw debuted its latest single and video this month.

The band premiered its new single, ‘Living in my Head‘ and its companion video Jan. 9 through Spaceuntravel. The song came more than five months after the band debuted its then latest single, ‘Silence The Fear.’

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Living in my Head’ is largely unlike that featured in ‘Silence The Fear.’ Where ‘Silence The Fear’ is a heavy, pounding work a la compositions from Machine Head, Amon Amarth and others, this song is more of a melodic hard rock work. The combination of instrumentation and vocals likens this arrangement more to works from the likes of Trivium and Devildriver.

The band discussed the song’s lyrical theme in a prepared statement.

“‘Living in My Head’ was a song we felt had to be released early on this album because it really hits home with what the world is going through now,” the statement reads. “We felt we could connect with fans, and let them know, we are with you. We are all struggling together. We feel the pressure of this world, with the pandemic and uncertainty, it really causes stress, anxiety, mental health issues all around. I don’t think anyone is immune to it. We are really proud of the final product and are glad to send our brand of heavy music into the world. We hope everyone enjoys it as much as we do!”

The video for the band’s new single is a simple presentation. It features the band performing its single on a sound stage. Various, high-speed cuts and fades pair with the video’s darkened look to heighten the song’s emotion.

More information on Lockjaw’s new single and video is available along with all of the band’s latest news at https://www.facebook.com/Lockjawlive.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Trivium’s Corey Beaulieu Joins Repentance For Its Latest Single; Band Inks Deal With Noble Demon

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Hard rock super group Repentance unveiled its latest single and the song’s companion video Monday.

The group opened the new week with the premiere of its new single, ‘Reborn’ and its companion lyric video. The song is the first single from the band’s forthcoming EP, which is slated for release later this year through Noble Demon. Its premiere comes more than a year after the band — in its new lineup of Adam Gilley (vocals), Shaun Glass (guitar), Eric Burns (guitar), Eric Karol (bass), and Brandon White (drums) — premiered the band’s then latest single, ‘God For a Day,’ which was the title track from the band’s then latest album.

As with ‘God For a Day,’ the musical arrangement featured in ‘Reborn’ is a heavy, intense metalcore style composition. Though, the guest appearance of Trivium guitarist Corey Beaulieu adds a clear thrash metal influence to the arrangement, too. The whole makes this song even more intense just in terms of its musical arrangement.

No information was provided about the song’s lyrical theme in the press release announcing the premiere of the new song and its video. Reading the lyrics in the video, which are presented over images of fire as the song plays over it all, the song’s lyrical theme comes across as a…pardon the pun…fiery statement of determination, letting go of the past and moving forward after cleansing one’s self of the stains of the past. That is just this critic’s interpretation.

Going back to the note of the band’s new EP, the band recently inked a new record deal with Noble Demon. The label is also home to the likes of Oceanhoarse, Neonfly, and Red Moon Architect.

Glass spoke highly of Noble Demon as he talked about the band’s addition to the label’s roster.

“Repentance is thrilled to be with the mighty Noble Demon Records for our new releases!,” said Glass. “I was so impressed with how such a newer label was making waves and with such a diverse roster of Metal/Rock it was the obvious place for this to be our new home with a professional staff and Patrick’s amazing history in the Metal industry, it’s a breath of fresh air.”

Noble Demon founder Patrick Walch shared Glass’ positive vibes in his own comments.

“When I discovered Repentance last year listening to their first single and then the full length album ‘God for A Day’ I instantly knew I was onto something there,” he said.”After having spoken with Shaun Glass for a while we knew that the vibe was more than right between us so, it didn’t need much negotation in order to work together on their next songs.”

Added Walch, “I’m proud to welcome another member to the Noble Demon family, this time with a pure US metal sound which I’ve always been appreciating by bands like Trivium, Lamb Of God, Devildriver etc., all bands I grew up with as well. And having Corey of Trivium play the solo on this new single is a huge honor for all of us. Check out Repentance, you won’t be disappointed!”

More information on Repentance’s new single and album is available along with the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.repentanceband.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/WeAreRepentance

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/WeAreRepentance

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Dealing With Demons I’ Is Some Of Devildriver’s Best Work To Date

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Metalcore band Devildriver is scheduled to release its latest album this week.  The band’s ninth album and eighth album of original content – its 2018 record Outlaws ‘Til The End Volume 1 is a covers compilation – Dealing With Demons I is a powerful new offering from the band.  The four singles that the album has already produced are their own clear examples of that strength.  They are just some of the examples of its strength.  ‘You Give Me A Reason To Drink’ is another key way in which this album shows its strength.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘Vengeance is Clear’ is another notable addition to the album that builds its presentation even more.  It will be discussed a little later.  ‘Scars Me Forever,’ which closes out the album, is one more example of what makes Dealing With Demons I another strong new offering from the veteran metalcore band.  When this trio of songs is considered along with the album’s singles and its other works, the whole of the album will make it that much more difficult for critics to choose the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Dealing With Demons I, Devildriver’s first new record of new material in more than four years, is a fiery return for the band.  That is proven through the record’s musical and lyrical content.  The four singles that the record has produced have already more than proven that.  They are not the only songs that show what makes this record such a strong presentation.  ‘You Give Me A Reason To Drink’ is another way in which the album shows its strength.  The song stands out in part because of its musical arrangement.  The arrangement is very much unlike most of the album’s other arrangements in that it takes a more sludge/doom style approach instead of the faster, shredders that fill out the album.  Even being a slower work in terms of its tempo, this arrangement is still heavy and intense in its own right.  What is interesting is that even being slower, the approach taken here still manages to translate the frustration expressed through the song’s lyrical content.  The band could have made this arrangement something more intense and up-tempo and it would have worked, too.  But choosing the slower, heavier work still works just as well.  It paints the picture of someone whose frustration is boiling just under the surface and ready to explode.  That frustration is translated just as well through the song’s lyrical content.

Front man Dez Fafara addresses those frustrations clearly in the song’s lead verse, noting, “Don’t need your validation/Just keep your approval/Don’t need your invite/It’s all right by me!/Abusing/Confusing/I’m only refusing to let this effect ME anyhow!/Nobody gets me here/I’m a loner…/Always choosing to be out of place.”  That frustration is just as clear in the song’s second verse, which finds Fafara singing, “Don’t send your condolence/Just keep your opinion/Don’t need your so sorry/It’s all fine by me!/It’s Abusing/So confusing/I’m refusing/To let this define me anyhow!/Nobody gets me here/I’m a loner… Always choosing to be out of place.”  The song’s third and final voice puts that proverbial nail in the coffin as Fafara sings, “Hanging cold corpses off the holy highway/Leaving dead bodies in life’s wake!/So drained from seeking sympathy/From a dead hearted society/That could care less about humanity anyway!”  This is someone who is just sick and tired of trying to please others and be what others want.  It is someone who is fed up with the holier than thou attitudes of so many, and is making that frustration clear.  The fire in the song’s lyrics couples with the noted powerhouse musical arrangement to translate that emotion and those thoughts that much better.  All things considered, they make ‘You Give Me A Reason To Drink’ another unquestionable example of why Dealing With Demons I such an impressive new offering from Devildriver.  It is hardly the last of the ways in which the album proves its strength.  ‘Vengeance is Clear’ is another way in which the record exhibits its strength.

Where ‘You Give Me A Reason to Drink’ succeeds through its slower, plodding sludge metal approach, ‘Vengeance is Clear’ takes the exact opposite approach.  This driving opus is an intense composition whose guitar, bass and drums equally share the spotlight.  When Fafara’s vocals are added to the mix, the result is an arrangement that will appeal just as much to the band’s longtime fans and metal fans in general.  The whole does its own impressive part in translating the equally intense emotions in the song’s lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Vengeance is Clear’ come across as a very introspective thought from Fafara.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I feel so trapped in my own head/I replay everything that you’ve said/I can’t escape this desperate feeling/Overwhelmed by my consuming dread/I’m looking in the mirror/Eyes full of doubt and fear/No time to settle scores/So no more/Thy will is done, no explanation, no rhyme or reason, no more.”  The song’s second verse adds its own share of interest as Fafara sings, “A f***ing nod to the guilty/Undone by their woes/Don’t torture yourself by the seeds they sew/It’s an end to the story/A chapter to be closed/I’m locked up in a vault/I’m loyal to a fault/All this life I’ve waited through the rain/Never to feel this weight again/I swore to the thunder, I summoned the rain/I prayed down in the dirt/Never to fall again/Under the skin we’re all just blood and bone/I’ve hit the walls so many times/Can’t remember them all.”  These words express a very intense and serious emotion and some very heavy thoughts.  The statement in the song’s chorus, which finds Fafara screaming, “Do or die/What’s done is done/Do or die/Vengeance is clear” intensifies the song’s statement even more.  It’s as if there is a certain resolute feeling here that counters the thoughts and feelings expressed in the verses.  It’s like the subject is saying here that for all of the negative thoughts and feelings he is having, he will persevere.  This is all this critic’s own interpretation and should not be taken as gospel.  Regardless, the lyrical content definitely will resonate with listeners and together with its companion musical content, will generate even more discussion and engagement among listeners.  Keeping all of this in mind, this song is just one more way in which Dealing with Demons I puts its strength on display.  ‘Scars Me Forever’ is one more example of how much the album has to offer.

‘Scars Me Forever’ crosses the band’s fierce guitar approach with the sludge/doom approach of ‘You Give Me A Reason to Drink’ to make the arrangement in whole a powerful finale for the album and another unique addition to the record.  The heaviness in the drums, guitar and bass is so powerful.  The addition of Fafara’s screams to the composition deepens the song’s impact even more.  When it is joined with the song’s lyrical content, the two elements together make the song (and album) that much more unforgettable.

The lyrical content featured in ‘Scars Me Forever’ comes across as someone confronting a familiar topic, that of a broken relationship and its impact on the subject.  That is made relatively clear in the song’s lead verse and chorus, in which Fafara sings, “You smile and it scars me forever, you live life like a wild god. You said these ties would never sever! You said never never. Sit in my room and I think of the future, sit in my room and I think of the past. Going down the rabbit hole, try to hold on, but I’m sliding down fast. Fast! When everything is not what it seems to be/I got to pack up my days and nights/Walk away and leave.”  Again, this is a familiar topic and situation for any listener, making it easily accessible in its own right.  The song becomes even more accessible and relatable as Fafara sings in the song’s second verse, “All good must now just come to an end/I’m so sick of your scene and your friends/Intuition makes it so easy to call it quits and set this free/Sit in my room and I think of the future/Sit in my room and I think of the past/Going down rabbit hole, I try to hold on, but I’m sliding down fast/Fast!”  The song’s third and final verse puts the accent to the noted statement as Fafara sings, “Would it be so easy for you to watch me go?/So walk out that door forever/We said never, never!/Never!/You laugh and it scars me forever/Don’t leave so easily/You said these ties would never sever/You said never/Never!”  This relatively straight forward discussion will connect with so many listeners.  Together with the intensity in the song’s musical arrangement, the song becomes that much more powerful.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, the album’s current singles and the rest of the album’s works, the album in whole becomes undeniably, a candidate for its own spot on what are sure to be some very crowded lists of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.

Devildriver’s latest album Dealing with Demons I is a record with which any hard rock and metal fan will want to deal.  That is proven time and again throughout the record in its musical and lyrical content.  Each of the songs noted here, its singles and other songs show that with the fullest clarity.  The musical arrangements are so heavy and rich, and the lyrics accessible in their own right.  All things considered, they make this record some of Devildriver’s best work to date.

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.devildriver.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/devildriver

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Devildriver Debuts ‘Wishing’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Devildriver debuted the video for its latest single over the weekend.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Wishing‘ Friday.  The song is the fourth from the band’s new album Dealing With Demons I, which is scheduled for release Friday through Napalm Records.  It follows the debut of the songs ‘Nest of Vipers,’ ‘Iona,’ and ‘Stay Away From Me.’

The video for ‘Wishing’ features front man Dez Fafara in a secluded, dimly lit setting, almost like a cave of some sort as he sings.  That footage is coupled with footage of anonymous cloaked figures in a forested setting, which is presented in black and white.

According to information provided about the video, the visuals are meant to illustrate the song’s lyrical message about a person wishing a deceased loved one was not gone.  The noted information states of the visualization that it places each of the band’s members “in a nightmarish state, trying to physically reach their loved ones just to have them disappear once they’ve nearly grasped them.”

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Wishing’ will appeal to fans of Devildriver’s metalcore counterpart Killswitch Engage, with its flowing, heavy, and melodic guitar arrangement coupled with Fafara’s screams.  The drums and bass work with those noted elements to make the song even more engaging.

Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms.  All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner.  the album’s track listing is noted below.

Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

The 10-song record was co-produced by [Devildriver guitarist Mike] Spreitzer and Steve Evetts.  It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’  The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.devildriver.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/devildriver

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Devildriver Debuts ‘Nest Of Vipers’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Devildriver debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new single ‘Nest of Vipers‘ Thursday.  The song and its companion video are the third from the band’s forthcoming album Dealing with Demons 1, which is scheduled for release Oct. 9 through Napalm Records.

Its premiere comes more than a month after the band debuted the album’s second single ‘Iona‘ and its video, and more than two months after the band debuted the album’s lead single ‘Stay Away From Me‘ and its companion video.

The video for ‘Nest of Vipers’ — directed by Vicente Corder (Industrialism Films) — centers on a man who has gone to visit a psychic.  The psychic uses a deck of tarot cards to tell the man of visions she is having about what is to come.  The visions that the psychic presents are anything but positive.  The whole thing ends with a surprise twist.

The musical arrangement at the center of Nest of Vipers harkens back to Devildriver’s early works while its lyrical content is a social commentary.

Front man Dez Fafara talked about the song’s lyrical content in a recent interview.

“This is my first co-written lyric on any Devildriver track with another band member, penned with our guitarist Neal Tiemann. Working with Neal is a good time. We always want what’s best for the song.

Lyrically, the chorus says it all –“the kings sworn men make perfect liars,” added Fafara. “This is the cold, hard truth, as people’s loyalties are often bought and sold. The lyric “she sleeps with bones beside her” refers to another theme touched upon in this track – a woman laying in misery next to her “bones” of contention, harboring guilt as her loyalties are also bought and sold… It’s all a sad state of affairs once you get into that bought and sold mentality, whether it’s with your work or friendships.”

Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms.  All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner.  the album’s track listing is noted below.

Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

The 10-song record was co-produced by [Devildriver guitarist Mike] Spreitzer and Steve Evetts.  It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’  The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.devildriver.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/devildriver

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Devildriver Debuts ‘Iona’ Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Devildriver debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted its hybrid video/lyric video for its new single ‘Iona‘ Wednesday.  The song is both a music video and an a lyric video in one.  The video features the story of a man who is traveling through a countryside setting and is being “hunted” by the spirit of a soul-stealing woman named Iona.  The story is set up by a brief explanation of the story at the video’s opening.

The video’s black and white effect, coupled with the acting of its two cast members and the setting will keep audiences engaged and entertained, as well the story.  The song itself does just as much to maintain that attention.  That is because its musical arrangement is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band throughout the years.

Front man Dez Fafara talked about the video and song in a recent interview.

“Iona is unlike any other Devildriver song we’ve put out,” he said. “From the frantic verses to the haunting chorus, this song is another move forward to push our sound and the listener’s ears into the fray! The chorus, “she carries a black rose, effigy from a story closed”, tells the story of the long dead ghost of Iona and her obsession with death represented by the black roses in her hands – each one the soul of someone she’s taken from this life on a lonely dark road, assimilating their souls into black roses, which she carries for eternity.  This theme relates to myself and “Dealing With Demons” in that, often times, we as people have a hard time “letting go” of things. This can be applied to relationships, death, and so on. Iona carrying the black roses symbolizes her inability to move on – always seeking revenge. The past is exactly that – the past – it’s important to let go and not be stuck in a perpetual loop of living in it.”

‘Iona’ is the second single from Devildriver’s forthcoming album Dealing With Demons.  The band debuted the video for the album’s lead single ‘Keep Away From Me‘ in May.

Fafara discussed the song’s lyrical theme in a recent interview.

“I’ve been social distancing since I was born,” he said. “I’ve learned to try and embrace my Agoraphobia all my life. This is what the lyrics are about as we are all sheltered in place. They seem very clear. Now is not the time bands should shy away from the obvious by trying to push the narrative through their art as if everything is alright with the world and ‘it’s metal video visual as usual time’, as it is clearly NOT that time.”

“We as artists should speak up, inspire and change lives, or paint a picture – a time capsule if you will – by the narrative we push in uncertain times,” he added. “This video is one such art piece as my band and thousands of others are forced into quarantine – cannot rehearse, take photos, or perform – to make a music video for the very people that have supported us for years. It’s trying times for the world and my outlook through this video is simply this: ‘here’s what we are going through as a family on this planet and as we embrace what is yet to come… please Stand Together’.”

Dealing with Demons is the first half of a two-part release that will see its second half released later this year.  This first half is scheduled for release Oct. 9.

Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms.  All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner.  the album’s track listing is noted below.

Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

The 10-song record was co-produced by Spreitzer and Steve Evetts.  It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’  The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.devildriver.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/devildriver

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Devildriver Debuts ‘Keep Away From Me’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Napalm Records/Album art by Johnny Jones at COMA

Audiences received their first preview of Devildriver’s next album this week.

The band — Dez Fafara (vocals), Mike Spreitzer (guitar), Neal Tiemann (guitar), Diego Ibarra (bass) and Auston D’amond (drums) — debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘Keep Away From Me‘ Thursday.  The song is featured in the band’s forthcoming album Dealing With Demons 1, which is scheduled for release Oct. 9 through Napalm Records.  The album is the first in a two-part release that will see its second half released at a later date.

‘Keep Away From Me’ features a musical arrangement that combines metalcore and death metal elements for a whole that will engage and entertain a wide range of listeners.  The song’s lyrical theme is personal for Fafara and uses his personal connection to relate to listeners as they navigate the waters of everything happening in the world today.

Fafara discussed that theme in a recent interview.

“I’ve been social distancing since I was born,” he said. “I’ve learned to try and embrace my Agoraphobia all my life. This is what the lyrics are about as we are all sheltered in place. They seem very clear. Now is not the time bands should shy away from the obvious by trying to push the narrative through their art as if everything is alright with the world and ‘it’s metal video visual as usual time’, as it is clearly NOT that time.”

We as artists should speak up, inspire and change lives, or paint a picture – a time capsule if you will – by the narrative we push in uncertain times,” he added. “This video is one such art piece as my band and thousands of others are forced into quarantine – cannot rehearse, take photos, or perform – to make a music video for the very people that have supported us for years. It’s trying times for the world and my outlook through this video is simply this: ‘here’s what we are going through as a family on this planet and as we embrace what is yet to come… please Stand Together’.”

Pre-orders are open now for Dealing With Demons I on a variety of platforms.  All pre-order pre-orders enter fans into a giveaway for a Dealing With Demons 1 banner.  the album’s track listing is noted below.

Dealing With Demons I Tracklist:
1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

The 10-song record was co-produced by Spreitzer and Steve Evetts.  It is also the first Devildriver record to feature a song co-written by Fafara and another individual — ‘Nest Of Vipers.’  The song was co-written by Fafara and Tiemann.

Fafara expanded on the record’s writing process in the noted interview.

“It’s time to lay it all out, on two records,” he said.  “I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”

Additionally, he commented on the writing process for Dealing with Demons 1‘s forthcoming companion record.

“Volume two will get into some very heavy topics as well,” he said.  “You’ll see the band progress even further musically as we finish this ode to the purge of all things Demonic.”

More information on Dealing With Demons 1 is available along with all of Devildriver’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.devildriver.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devildriver

Twitter: http://twitter.com/devildriver

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.