Winter Kills

Napalm Records

Street: 08.27
DevilDriver = At The Gates + Arch Enemy

This is definitely DevilDriver’s strongest record in years—a complete maelstrom of throat-ripping screams over thick, thumping double-bass and heavy guitar licks that can’t help but demand your attention. It’s good traditional thrash, so expect the usual hallmarks of the era: catchy hooks descending into brutality, heavy groove and repetition in the song structure. My favorite groove comes on “Curses and Epitaphs,” with its classic “new wave of American metal”–style opening, and a haunting guitar melody floating over the pounding of John Boecklin’s inhuman drum pulse. Their choice to cover AWOLNATION was a bold and successful experiment; “Sail” is one of the most engaging songs on the album. It seems as though Dez Fafara’s vocal range has expanded as well, or maybe it’s the mixing, but he sounds better than ever. This is a solid step forward for this seasoned band. –Megan Kennedy