Devildriver’s remastered re-releases of their first five albums might feel a bit pointless to some. Indeed, there’s no real “anniversary” to make them feel warranted. ‘Beast’ and ‘Pray for Villains’ the latest albums of the five were, indeed, both released under a decade ago. However Devildriver have still had one of the best, and most underrated, runs in modern metal. These re-releases should hopefully solidify that and become the definitive copies to own of these albums.
Self-titled debut album ‘Devildriver’ remains as viciously immediate as ever, even if some of Dez Fafara’s nu-metal leanings do seem a bit dated. Last Kind Words and Fury of Our Makers Hand are still the bands strongest works, while Pray for Villains is one of the most intriguing metal albums of its time. Beast, while not quite the same standard as the bands earliest work, has certainly gained something with time.
In and of itself the remastering work is largely pointless and rather feels like an excuse to offer something new with these re-releases. Although the first, self-titled album does benefit from a cleaner production job that lets the savage riffing and grooves breathe a lot more, beyond this all of the other albums scarcely needed any improvement. Indeed, there’s not a lot that appears to have changed here. Furthermore, there’s no new content added onto the original albums that wasn’t already available elsewhere. Each album is essentially a remaster of the original deluxe edition bands were so fond of releasing over the 2000’s.
The principal virtue in these re-releases is through the perspective of frontman, and band leader, Dez Fafara in looking back. Joel McIver is a very capable author of the album liner notes. The liner notes offer some entertaining enough stories and track the band’s story capably. Interestingly, there’s very little about the departure of original guitarist Evan Pitts but conflicts with former drummer John Boecklin and the addiction problems of former bassist Jonathan Miller are laid bare.
The quality of the original albums is undeniable. But mileage will certainly vary on the re-releases – depending on what you’re looking for and what you might already have.
The Devildriver re-releases are out now on BMG. Check out frontman Dez Fafara doing the unboxing of the vinyl editions below: