Death Valley Driver

Graveyard Dead

Written by: BV on 23/06/2013 15:51:33

Death Valley Driver - frequently referred to as the bastard child of Black Sabbath, High on Fire and Entombed. What a legacy to live up to, and what mightily heavy shoes to fill for a band that I (pardon my possible ignorance) have never heard a single thing about prior to starting my research for this review. It was therefore with a foreboding sense of wonder, and a slight sense of curiosity that I put the album on, waiting for the impressions to hit me.

As opening track “Black Vein“ hits me my mind instantly wonders to one thought – they’ve got their groove going, that’s for sure. With the confident rumble of the bass, the saturation of a simple yet spectacular guitar riff and some maliciously cool drumming I find myself banging my head to the sheer energy emitted from the track. Whilst the vocal styling is far from what I’ve come to prefer, it is nonetheless relatively proficient as far as I can tell. With the ever-lurking, wah-wah-laden guitar lead poking forth once in a while, the immensely heavy groove gets a certain airy quality about it, seeing as some of the ‘shrill’ or treble-laden tones can appear through the dense wall of distortion being pummeled through my speakers.

The title track “Graveyard Dead” is a fast-paced groove metal piece that is vastly reminiscent of Pantera to my ears, whilst never becoming a full-fledged ‘rip-off’ of the Pantera-feel. Nonetheless I would say that the inspirations of Death Valley Driver are occasionally a little too obvious and not as underplayed and integrated into the sound as one could come to prefer.

As I reach the end of the album with the track “Bull of the Woods” I’ve come to realize that, whilst the riffing is bountiful and the groove is immense, something is definitely missing from the formula before this can be deemed truly fantastic. I’d say that, perhaps, the ever-present inspirations from various metal-monoliths tend to downplay the originality of Death Valley Driver to such an extent that I can’t give myself up to the album in such a way that I could truly lose myself to the sounds. I’m constantly impressed with the riffing, but I’m never being fully drawn into the soundscape – which, in turn, provides a relatively long listen when you’re not feeling the mood the whole way through. The album as a cohesive unit is definitely solid though – not a pivotal release, but definitely noteworthy in some sense.


Download: Bull of the Woods, Graveyard Dead, Black Vein
For The Fans Of: High on Fire, Entombed, Black Sabbath, Pantera

Release Date 29.04.2013
Diminished Fifth Records

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