While many have eagerly taken to DevilDriver, it seems that their latest effort is as polarizing as ever. Some find it to be a high watermark for the group, while others see it as the middling output of a nu-metal about-face. Whatever one's disposition might be to DevilDriver however, there's no denying the chops that are on display on "Pray For Villains".
Whirring leads and chunky riffs, a propulsive rhythmic battering and a general level of technical expertise permeate this release. But the same problems that have plagued the band throughout their career remain in place. While they easily capture and nail the many relevant aspects of metalcore and melodic death metal, it's hard to ever take them seriously. You see, for every straight forward pummeling there is a cheesy nu-metalish chorus or bouncy progression that wouldn't sound out of place on a recent Powerman 5000 record.
The overall songwriting has the air of trying too hard and often winds up with bland attempts at a hook which seem almost condescending in their banality. Tack on some subtle usage of synths that basically mimic the riffs and the air of cheesiness is multiplied tenfold, resulting in the audio equivalent of a plate of Slipknot, In Flames and Killswitch Engage's leftovers. That said, if DevilDriver hope to have some staying power, they best pray for creativity on their next release.
For while they have mastered going through the motions, their general lack of substance and ideas of their own puts them in immediate danger of becoming one of the mere footnotes of the current generation of metal stars. Then again, maybe expecting a group fronted by a man who spearheaded tertiary nu-metal clowns Coal Chamber to deliver anything more than the status quo is where the prayers are needed most.
(3 / 5)