JULY 5th 2018
DEVILDRIVER: OUTLAWS 'TIL THE END VOL I

Review By: Ruben Mosqueda

DevilDriver frontman Dez Fafara had a vision to cover some ‘outlaw country’ tunes which he was a fan of, but wanted to do something something different; rather than to attempt to do traditional covers, he elected to rework or reimagine the songs as ‘metal’ songs. Now, this album might have ‘outlaw country’ purists cringing at the thought. Having said that, if you're not open minded in the least then you probably won't get “Outlaws ‘Til The End,” at all---ever!

While “Outlaws ‘Til The End” is a stopgap between records, Fafara wanted to make it fun and wanted others to join in on the festivities.  Fafara called on some of his ‘rowdy friends’ which includes the likes of; Randy Blythe [Lamb of God], Burton C. Bell [Fear Factory], Hank III, John Carter Cash, Brock Lindow [36 Crazyfists] amongst others. Hank III’s “Country Heroes” and “Whiskey River” recorded by Willie Nelson set the tone for the album and that tone being ‘brutality.’ If you had any doubts that Fafara was going to ‘lighten up’ for the ‘outlaw’ album you know, you're sadly mistaken. Like with ‘novelty' records like this there’s always some songs that work better than others; “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” [Dwight Yoakam] and “Ghost Riders In The Sky” [recorded by Johnny Cash] are two that are heavy as hell but miss the mark for whatever reason.

There are songs that not only hit the mark, but decimate said target! Those tracks being; Steve Earle’s  “Copperhead Road,” which was reworked masterfully into a monstrosity. It  sounds strange hearing “Copperhead Road” without the mandolin chugging along with the guitar. Other highlights include; the rendition of Richard Thompson’s “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” with guest Burton C. Bell barking his way through the musical carnage, Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” complete with spoken part by Fear’s Lee Ving, David Allan Coe’s “The Ride” and Hank Jr.’s “A Country Boy Can Survive.” Fafara and Co created a solid album, while ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ might not set the world ablaze, it fairs much better than a conventional covers album; where the artist essentially colors within the lines. You have to respect DevilDriver for sticking with the vision throughout the record and doing something unique, while we await the Fafara solo album and then new DevilDriver music.