Dez Fafara lays his trauma to rest on Devildriver's Dealing With Demons Vol. II

After 21 years and 10 studio albums, Devildriver are moving on from Dez Fafara's turmoil to find fresh pastures

Devildriver 2023
(Image: © Jeremy Saffer)

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After some tricky personal moments in recent times, Dez Fafara can mark two decades of Devildriver with their first shows in four years (and a few with Coal Chamber on the horizon), the return of founding bassist Jon Miller, and the unveiling of this second part of this purge of inner turmoil. 

While its predecessor certainly didn’t disgrace itself up against a consistent back catalogue that boasts the likes of Beast and The Last Kind Words, it’s apparent that sufficient time has passed since Devildriver released an album that’s been deemed essential listening beyond the diehards. 

While there’s a new drummer and guitarist alongside the returning Miller, the well-honed pairing of Dez’s unmistakable snarl and Mike Spreitzer’s melodeath-laden riffs ensures the confrontational I Have No Pity kicks off an album that sees the collective once again at the peak of their powers. 

Mantra and Nothing Lasts Forever’s disquieting vibes and bullish temperament fall into line without complaint, but it’s from Summoning’s sinister, sorrowful stomp onwards that Dealing With Demons Vol. II really shows its worth. 

Through The Depths’ blackened scorn and It’s A Hard Truth’s precision payload boast Devildriver’s ability to blend extreme elements with righteous hooks. If Blood Is Life’s galloping riffs and imperious twin leads add zeal to the emotive leads and yet more righteous indignation, while mournful undercurrents weave through an arsenal of charged riffs that punch through the combative Bloodbath and This Relationship Broken

The latter’s triumphant spirit sees Dez bid adieu to the inner strife that has fuelled his output for so long, promising to find new lyrical inspiration as Devildriver venture into decade number three. While Dez’s struggles with his demons have been writ large over his career, it’s a symbiotic relationship that, once again, has delivered a host of memorable tunes.

Dealing With Demons Vol. II is out May 12 via Napalm

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.