Metalheads rejoice! Have you grown tired of this “neuvo” metal scene with its dark and doom clichs and gothic overtones? Well, there is good news – one band has turned away from pseudo-metal and returned with the double bass and heavy guitar roar that used to define heavy metal. This band is DevilDriver.

The band borrows its moniker from the bells witches used in order to ward off evil while they were casting spells. Their sophomore album, “The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand,” deals with dark and heavy overtones, but, unlike many other bands of similar style, DevilDriver does so while maintaining a personal and relatable touch that separates them from the rest.

On tracks like “Sin and Sacrifice,” lead singer Dez Fafara tackles his various demons through such lyrics as “Regrets, night sweats, occasional thoughts of suicide – Old habits die hard and I live so fast.” Self-examination from a metal band? You bet.

The album’s title track deals with religion and questions of the afterlife. Through this song Fafara offers his own religious philosophy, “Don’t worry be happy” – or in other words, “We will figure all this out in the end, let’s not fret.” Philosophical introspection on a metal CD? You bet.

On this album DevilDriver manages to straddle the line between mainstream concessions and adherence to the standards and bylaws of thrash-metal. Each song has memorable hooks and each combines towering riffs with echoing drums to capture the true power of metal. Nearly every track is brimming with melody and Fafara’s lyrics are entirely intelligible, yet he maintains the rasping and screaming vocals that were standard in black metal. The message is clear – Korn fans need not apply.

It’s not surprising that the metal scene, critics included, has fully embraced DevilDriver’s latest effort. Revolver magazine called the album a “mad masterpiece,” and gave it a four out of five star review. While other bands may shy away from terms such as “brutal,” “maniacal” and “trashy,” this band embraces these terms and makes no bones about it.

Metal fans have fully embraced this work, which soared to No. 1 on the Metal College Radio and Specialty Charts, and No. 17 on Billboard’s Top Hard Rock Chart upon its release. Mainstream audiences have been slow to come around – the album made it on Billboard’s Top 200, yet only at No. 117. This album is not for passive or occasional metal fans – DevilDriver sought to reach true metal fans and achieved this with their album.

DevilDriver, dubbed “one of the must-bands” in the hard rock world by Billboard, will be appearing with In Flames, Trivium and Zao at Water Street Music Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Doors open at 7 p.m. and tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster for $19. And remember – Korn fans need not apply.

Allard can be reached at dallard@campustimes.org.



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