So, what were you really expecting? Did you think that just because vocalist Dez Fafara spent the Winter and Spring touring around with Coal Chamber that the next Devildriver release would be softer and more full of nu-metal elements? It's amazing to me how many times prior to this release making it's rounds that I read just that online. Fans really can be stupid sometimes. For those that need a revisionary lesson in history, Fafara formed Devildriver to be as brutal as possible and as "anti-Coal Chamber" as anything he could make. The odds are that Devildriver will never even resemble Coals Chamber, nu-metal, or anything with the word "soft" in it for as long as they are a band. WINTER KILLS is a seriously intense effort from the band I feel is the best extreme metal band of the last decade. Start to finish, WINTER KILLS does just that - kills.
So many 80s hair metal bands have come back unnecessarily. I mean, let's face it...some of them just didn't make enough of an impact back in the day to warrant a reunion now. I think for most of them, there's a record company offering a check to these guys that are now plumbers and carpenters, and they see it as a quick opportunity to finish a bunch of tunes that were left laying around when their short run back in 1989 crapped out. For most of them, the reunion records have been far less than good, for the simple fact that the magic of the moment has long since gone away. For a few of those bands though, there was still significant fire left in the tank. I'd say that King Kobra is one of those bands. While never bigger than a 2nd tier hair metal band back in the day, they created solid music then. With their reunion album, and now with II, they are not only rock solid creatively, but might just be better than they were back in their day.
There's just something about Philip Anselmo that most metal fans don't get. In fact, I would go as far as to argue that even most of those hardcore Pantera fans don't fully understand the motives and direction that Anselmo takes half the time. More than just about any other musician in metal history, Anselmo is the single guy that has taken a lot of varied metal styles to the masses. Through his notoriety as a legend with Pantera, Anselmo has been able to introduce much more extreme types of metal to the majority of metalheads that would probably have never listened otherwise. Speaking only for myself, my first exposure to such varied music as Anal Cunt, Necrophagia, Christ Inversion, Arson Anthem and Superjoint Ritual all came SOLELY because of Anselmo's involvement with those projects. It has NOTHING to do with any music at all that I heard prior to picking up those releases. To be honest, I haven't liked all of it, but I don't think that's really what it's about for Anselmo anyway. To his credit, he lives and dies metal...all kinds of metal...and he is out to create as much of it as humanly possible.
About every two to three years, a band comes along that I have never heard of that absolutely overwhelms me. A few years ago, it was Volbeat that came out of nowhere and really struck a chord with me. Most recently, that Halestorm record just stays in my player and gets play several times a week. Following an impressive performance at ROCK ON THE RANGE as well as a very fun hang with them after their performance, a new band has jumped on my radar. That band is Scorpion Child. With interest, their self-titled release found it's way to me a week after ROCK ON THE RANGE, and it's been stuck in my player (and my head) ever since. As of today, July 9th, 2013, SCORPION CHILD is the metal album of the year in my eyes. A new band for me to follow religiously has been launched to the world.
More than most releases, I've taken a lot of extra time listening to Megadeth's SUPER COLLIDER, if for no other reason than to figure out just why I don't think it's very good. With Megadeth, it's always a scenario where the first few listens remind you of a lot of other stuff they have done. You have to give them more time though, as the Dave Mustaine sound has a way of either sticking with you when it's truly brilliant, or just sounding tired when it's not. Certainly, any metalhead knows the difference between an album like RUST IN PEACE and another like THE WORLD NEEDS A HERO. It's the same guy, and literally the same audio quality of performance, but that spark is completely different between the two albums. With KINGMAKER, Mustaine and company just fall flat, even though it's a well recorded album that's unmistakably Megadeth.
I've really given this album a lot of time and listens to sink in before writing anything about it. I did so because I wanted to be fair about it, and not judge it with the anger I, as a fan, have at the band for passing this off as a "reunion" without Bill Ward playing drums. I've read all the arguments online for this. I've had a hundred friends all tell me that they played this album UNTIL they liked it, and had it "grow on them." I've tried that myself, to be honest. A lot of people are all claiming that "as long as it has Iommi's riffs, then they will like it." That is obviously a lie, unless you are like me and love albums like HEADLESS CROSS, FORBIDDEN and TYR. In the end, 13 is a release that needs to be judged like all releases do - on it's own merits and what you hear when listening to it. To me, it's a fairly average offering.