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A punishing groove and melodic death metal unit based out of Santa Barbara, California, DevilDriver originally operated under the moniker Deathride before a copyright issue forced them to adopt a new name. Co-founded by Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara, who remains the group's lone original member, the band debuted in 2002, but didn't truly catch fire until the release of 2007's Last Kind Words, which heralded a string of high-charting albums like Pray for Villains (2009), Winter Kills (2013), Trust No One (2016), and the concept double album Dealing with Demons (2020 and 2021). Despite enduring numerous personnel shifts, the band has maintained a lean, loud, and punitive sonic attack that has established them as one of the more reliable heavy music purveyors of the early 21st century. Following the dissolution of his Marilyn Manson/Korn-influenced nu-metal band Coal Chamber, vocalist Dez Fafara hooked up with guitarists Evans Pitts and Jeffrey Kendrick, bassist Jon Miller, and drummer John Boecklin to form DevilDriver -- a rather more extreme band dedicated to the subsequent hardcore-meets-death-metal trends. Signed to Roadrunner like Fafara's previous group, DevilDriver released their eponymous debut in 2003, followed a sophomore effort, The Fury of Our Maker's Hand (where Pitts was replaced by Mike Spreitzer), a couple years later. 2007's Last Kind Words was the group's first outing to crack the Billboard 200, but they got their day in the sun when their 2009 album, Pray for Villains, debuted at number 35 and found success in Europe as well. After touring with groups like Behemoth and Slipknot, DevilDriver went back into the studio to begin work on their fifth album. the resulting Beast, produced by Mark Lewis, was released in 2011, and would be their last album to feature longtime bassist Jon Miller. The band would team up with Lewis again for its next album, Winter Kills, their highest-charting LP to date, which arrived in the summer of 2013 via Napalm Records. 2014 saw the departures of drummer John Boecklin and guitarist Jeff Kendrick, which prompted Fafara to put the band on hiatus until 2016. The group did indeed resurface that year, releasing its seventh studio album, Trust No One, which would be the first DevilDriver outing for three new members, ex-Chimaira drummer Austin D'Amond, guitarist Neal Tiemann, and ex-Static-X bassist Diego Ibarra. In 2018, Fafara, a longtime fan of outlaw country, fulfilled his ambition to unite the genre with metal on DevilDriver's eighth album, Outlaws 'til the End, Vol. 1. A collection of covers of classics of the genre refashioned in the band's inimitable powerhouse style, it featured guest vocals from several metal and country artists including Randy Blythe, Brock Lindow, Burton C. Bell, John Carter Cash, and Hank Williams III. Prior to that album's release, Fafara mentioned to the press that the band had written 48 songs that were ready to record. The first fruits of those sessions appeared in 2020 as Dealing with Demons I, the initial part of a double album which included the COVID-19-themed single "Keep Away from Me" and a collaboration with Fafara's son Simon Blade on "You Give Me a Reason to Drink." Early 2021 saw the band part ways with guitarist Neal Tiemann, who was replaced by Cody Haglund. The second installment of the concept LP, Dealing with Demons II, arrived later that year.
© Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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