- Be stuck in a lift with James Corden
- Eat a fresh shite
- Cut off my toes before cooking and eating them as cocktail sausages.
- Run a marathon in a pair of shorts made of sandpaper
- Talk to someone in leather trousers
- Be tied to a chair and forced at gunpoint to watch an entire episode of Loose Women
- Get violently raped
- Cut the skin off a buttock and fashion it into a primitive hat
- Wear a bumskin hat
- Be sellotaped to Chris Moyles for a day
- Listen to glam metal
- Tie a piano wire noose round my bollocks and jump out a window
- Use my arse cheeks as a rudimentary dart board
- Go mountaineering with James Corden
The above is a small selection from the long list of things I would rather do than listen to DevilDriver.
You see, angry man groove metal should have been laid to rest so long ago. As a genre it should have been taken out to a forest, shot in the head, thoroughly cremated and the remains scattered far and wide, with any surviving copies of Far Beyond Driven being looked back at with nothing more than a sigh and a knowing chuckle. However, this anachronistic machismo is still perpetuated by the vile likes of Leave the Hall ‘favourites’ 5 Finger Death Punch and DevilDriver, who, in any right thinking society would be laughed out of town long before their 5th album floated to the surface. Sadly for us, society today is a fucking shambles, with a moronic bovine populace that has seen fit to propel these fools to a position amongst the most successful bands in ‘metal’ today. I take all the necessary precautions to avoid contacting groovemetalitis and began the ordeal…
Beast opens with Dead To Rights, and initially it actually sounds a lot like the excellent Martriden, at which point I can actually feel my mind blowing a bit. But just as a little morsel of grey matter plops out of my ear hole onto my shoulder, DevilDriver, with their fists of ham, manage to immediately drown what was a promising section in a sea of grooving, bouncing riffage, compounded when Dez ‘yes that is a tattoo on my face’ Fafara unleashes his patented one-dimensional vocals over the proceedings. It’s quite astonishing to note that Mr Fafara has actually become a less versatile and dynamic vocalist since leaving Coal Chamber. It takes a hell of a man to go backwards from that starting point – well done Sir.
Following the conclusion of the initial lamentable snooze-fest we meet a half-dozen songs that seem to form some sort of adolescent rage themed story arc. They have titles lifted directly from the inner monologue of a 14 year old boy who is unpopular at school and decides that, rather than addressing his social shortcomings, will instead watch more mixed martial arts and perhaps pick up some tips that will benefit him when he next hits the pit AND ensure that his innate knowledge of brawling will put him at a huge advantage should he ever decide to physically confront the cooler kids (he won’t). We get Bring the Fight (To the Floor), Hardened, Shitlist, Talons Out (Teeth Sharpened), You Make Me Sick and Coldblooded all in a row for us to get thoroughly cathartic to. One young kiddy on DevilDriver cried all the water out of his body. Just imagine how his mother felt. It’s a fucking disgrace.
The unfortunate titles and lyrical gangstaism is a shame, as a lot of the music is actually surprisingly decent. There are some cool, if derivative, melodic death metal sections, some fucking tight drumming and a smattering of solos that would be capable of inducing mild-to-enthusiastic boners amongst guitaristas. I will, however, offer the band some constructive criticism so they can build on these moments:
The first problem here is an over reliance upon ‘groove’ without any musicality. The songs keep falling back on tedious sections with no flair whatsoever and, as every highly specialised metal subgenre proves, any music that is entirely reliant on one particular facet of music (see also Breakdowns, Brutal) renders it instantly dull and restrictive. Decapitated, among many others, have better grooves coming out of their asshole than appear on Beast, but as said grooves are incorporated into a far more interesting, diverse and rich musical tapestry, the Poles could not be remotely pigeonholed as being a groove metal band.
The second, and biggest, problem is simply Dez Fafara. Posturing tough guys like this need to fuck off and stop embarrassing themselves as it’s just too cringeworthy for my brain to fully comprehend. He comes across as pathetic, bitter, laughable and impotent all the way through this lyrical and vocal diarrhoea milkshake, bringing nothing to the proceeding but bad memories of a thankfully bygone age of meatheaded Fred Durstism. The four talented members of DevilDriver who write the music really should ditch the throwback vocalist, cut out the nu-metal riffs and, given time and effort, could confidently boast a band more than capable of being second support to Chimaira on their next tour.
Make a difference, make the change and together we can eradicate Groove by 2015.