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Devildriver: Pray For Villains

Devildriver: Pray For Villains

Thrash/Groove Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

So many reviews of this band's latest mention Dez Fafara's background in Cole Chamber, the factoid has already become boring, loathsome, and redundant—not to mention useless. Cutting to the chase then, Pray for Villains is Devildriver's fourth, best, and most diverse album to date. Unlike most bands today, these hellions apparently have got generous reserves of focus and ambition. They feel the pulse of their audience and take the best part from each previous release, which is then refined and used for new ass-whupping material. It's immediately heard on the mega-awesome opener, which happens to be the title track as well. Devildriver have a knack for what their fans like—ball busting heaviness—and on the song Pray for Villains they deliver in spades; the numbing decibels, immense riffs, and Dez' hoarse vocals that don't diminish the vinegar in his words all conspire for total satisfaction.

Considering how potent their start was, it's a surprise to hear patented rock riffs on the ensuing tracks, even a bluesy lick that allows 'Back With A Vengeance' to sashay in and start taking names. While choice breakdowns, infectious melody, and top notch songwriting are the order of the day on such winning tunes as 'Pure Sincerity,' 'I've Been Sober,' and the catchy 'Resurrection Boulevard,' epic jaw-dropping metallic grandeur does have its time in the spotlight on more than a few numbers.

With guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Jeff Kendrick keeping the harmonies and choice solos at optimum levels—it's great to hear them not overdo things—the ever barefoot John Boecklin stays busy providing Pray for Villains its proper dose of slam. It's his relentless pedal work that adds a lot more oomph to 'Forgiveness Is A Six Gun,' 'Pure Sincerity,' 'Fate Stepped In,' 'Waiting For November,' and the utterly smokin' closer 'I See Belief.'

But hold on to your horses, because these demons roll out a bunch of excellent bonus tracks past the official running time. It's a thoughtful move that compensates for the less remarkable moments on 'Pray or Villains'; and there are quite a few of these ('It's In the Cards'?). Even then, having mastered the art of metal for the masses couldn't save them from a watered down Iron Maiden that nearly spoils the fun.

In Short

Pray for Villains is Devildriver's fourth, best, and most diverse album to date. Unlike most bands today, these hellions apparently have got generous reserves of focus and ambition.

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