DevilDriver - Beast (Roadrunner)

DevilDriver bring the fight in their heaviest studio album to date.

From the opening seconds of Beast there is no doubt that DevilDriver are pissed off and on a mission. They have a habit of opening their albums with a blistering song, even going as far back as Nothing's Wrong? from their less-than-popular eponymous debut. Beast doesn't change this formula, delivering one of the most brutal songs in the entire 'Driver back catalogue with Dead To Rights. This song signifies the start of something destructive.

Beast as a whole is the heaviest album of DevilDriver's career. John Boecklin attacks the drums with a savage intensity, conjuring up some truly baffling yet exquisite patterns. The off-beat guitar work from Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer fluctuates between groove riffs and hammering death metal. And then there's Dez Fafara. The workhorse of metal. It's a hilariously ill-educated, herpes-ridden imbecile that considers this vocal powerhouse nothing more than "that bloke wot used to be in Coal Chamber". Fafara is currently one of the greatest frontmen in metal, who's fury and passion is delivered through an instantly recognisable voice that isn't just a result of studio knob-twiddling (exemplified on Beast by the inclusion of a live version of the excellent Grinfucked). It's not unreasonable to suggest songs such as You Make Me Sick and Blame The Game aren't likely to win the Nobel Prize for Literature but this album feels like it's been written for the fans. Bring The Fight (To The Floor) is quite rightly designed for the world famous DevilDriver circle pits, both lyrically and musically.

DevilDriver had a slow start with their debut album, and although things picked up with their second outing The Fury Of Our Maker's Hands the commercial success and recognition really kicked in with the tricky third album The Last Kind Words, even so far as to see the seminal crowd-pleaser Clouds Over California finding it's way onto the time-stealing video game Rock Band. 2009's follow up Pray For Villains suggested a more sensitive side to the band with songs such as Resurrection Boulevard and I've Been Sober. Pray For Villains contained the heavy heaviness in Waiting For November and pit-swelling fury of Another Night In London but Beast manages to combine the unharnessed brutality of their earlier work with the flawless production of their more recent studio efforts.

The Special Edition version of Beast comes with a 90-minute documentary about the making of DevilDriver, from their days as Deathride right up to the completion of Pray For Villains. This insight into the lives of one of the most exciting live bands operating today is an absolute must for any fan, even if it's just to see the diminutive-yet-fucking hard Fafara chuck a bottle of wine at guitarist Spreitzer's head when he doesn't adhere to their "leave it 30 mins before discussing the show" rule.

DevilDriver are one of the most consistent bands of the last five years in terms of both albums and live performances, and Beast is no exception. From start to finish, it's very difficult to find anything to criticise. For that reason, I'm going to stop trying.

Beast is out now on Roadrunner