It was about a year and a half ago that I got this site’s community’s collective panties in a bunch – readers and staffers alike – by praising DevilDriver’s self-titled debut. Many of them were quick to dismiss the band, unheard, simply based on vocalist Dez Fafara’s prior position with Coal Chamber. Others at least took the time to listen to free tracks at Roadrunner’s website before beginning their attacks, and while I had a handful of supporters, most of the readers wanted me lynched and burned at the stake as a metal heretic, daring to praise something of this nature. Well, get ready to relive those days, because I’m here to do it again to a whole new lot of you with The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand.
After logging countless road hours, and with the addition of a new guitarist, the band has only gotten heavier and more aggressive. Any of Dez’s vocal similarities to the days of yore have been stripped clean away, as well as everything but the most basic musical similarities (such as the fact that both have guitars and drums). What we’re left with then is primal, aggressive metal with elemental nods to its heaviest subgenres. While this album did not grab me as quickly as its predecessor, after a few high-volume listens, this Fury became blindingly apparent.
After a deceptively mellow intro, “End of the Line” goes straight for the jugular with some sharp riffage and faux blast beats before the main parts kick in and continue the pummeling assault. Fafara gives his larynx a particularly brutal workout on “Grinfucked” (what the hell does that mean, anyway?) with a more-gutteral-than-usual delivery and a few prolonged screams, not to mention a nice solo/breakdown section that includes some dark dramatic riffs and double bass. “Hold Back the Day” is probably the most accessible track here, but that’s not saying a whole lot, since it too is quite brutal and chock full of double bass, but it is also the closest thing here to the current metalcore “it” sound. “Sin and Sacrifice” would best be described as barely controlled musical chaos, with the guitars and drums at war for supremacy during the verses and the latter parts of the choruses, coming together at times to alternately display their respective strengths. At the end of the disc, the title track messes with us some by mixing in some melodic passages to provide a contrast to the mayhem that surrounds them. The track and the album, almost mercifully, end with a minute-long cooling period of dark, echoing clean guitar, allowing you to catch your breath at the end of this mentally exhausting, yet satisfying, exercise in aggression.
One thing I do have a gripe with here is how similar in structure many of these songs are. An intro section that holds one tempo before switching to another for the rest of the song. Yeah, I know that’s fairly standard stuff, but a lot of times here it just seems a bit TOO cookie cutter, particularly when almost all of the change ups are preceded by a drum roll. It’s not a major thing, but noticeable enough to stick in my craw a bit. “Impending Disaster” is one of the tracks that avoids this problem, with a brutal intro that instead scales back just a bit for the remainder of the track. Well, all that plus the fact that, in terms of memorability, this album is a bit top heavy.
So, that’s about that. Fans of their debut will have their expectations either met or exceeded by the increased ferocity of The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand. Those who did not, however, will find plenty to bitch and moan about here, including the fact that many metal journalists actually like it. The underground would be a much better place without all the “more brutal/heavy/true than thou” posturing. But I digress. In short, if you’re looking for pure, catchy aggressiveness, look no further than this album.