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Respected standard bearers for 21st century metal, DEVILDRIVER have spent almost the last two decades pursuing a course of uncompromising artistry and nonsense-free dedication to the road. Led by the prolific Dez Fafara, the Californian crew have earned their reputation as one of the hardest working bands on the planet, while issuing a steady succession of brutal but distinctive albums along the way. Impervious to transient trends, the band’s focus has remained laser-sharp, and never more so than on the monumental two-part album Dealing With Demons: a splurge of serrated-edge riffing, lyrical vitriol and pummeling ensemble chemistry. According to Dez, his band’s first album of new material since 2016’s Trust No One represents a final purging of the demons that have long haunted Dez Fafara and DEVILDRIVER’s music.
Heavy music has long been a powerful form of catharsis, but nothing could prepare DEVILDRIVER fans for what’s coming. Dealing With Demons showcases the supreme form of the band – Dez, guitarists Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann, drummer Austin D’Amond and bassist Diego Ibarra – are enjoying right now. Not just some of the most vicious DEVILDRIVER material to date, but some of their most lethally memorable too, it’s powered by shared belief in a bright future and the healing power of the riff. From its eerie, ominous intro and the self-explanatory, explosive opener “Keep Away From Me”, to the seething, poignant “Nest Of Vipers” and the chilling imagery of “Iona”, Dealing With Demons I – the first offering of the two-part album to see its time in the sun with a 2020 release – is exhilarating, extreme and blessed with multiple, lacerating hooks. Although long-time fans of the band will have plenty to sink their teeth into, these new songs eschew the obvious in favor of multiple new ways for them to get the faithful’s blood pumping. With new milestones like Dez’s eerie verses on “Wishing” and the frontman’s first co-authored lyric (“Nest Of Vipers “was written by Dez and Neal Tiemann), Dealing With Demons I ferociously delivers the goods while kicking open several new doors for DEVILDRIVER to power through in the future. It’s a vital and violent clearing of the emotional decks, but it’s also powerful evidence that Dez and his band mates have given DEVILDRIVER a holistic reboot. Demons are getting dealt with. The future is next.