Country and metal. It’s hard to imagine a couple of stranger bedfellows in the musical world. Yes, there’s Hank III but he really only does one or the other. Here, DevilDriver set out to cover some of their personal favourite outlaw country tunes from artists like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and the Eagles.
I thought the idea behind this was a bit shaky until opener ‘Country Heros’ kicks in after a short country influenced guitar opening and rolls over the top of the listener like any other great DevilDriver track . Hank III sings his clean vocals over the top of a far heavier version of his original perfectly balancing out Dez Fafara’s vocal rasp.
‘Whisky River’ follows and, even with Randy Blythe guesting, is transformed into a DevilDriver song of a formidable nature, so much so that this could be off any album the band has released, a pattern repeated on early Eagles hit ‘Outlaw Man’, one of the few tracks without a guest appearance so making it feel even more like a track the band had penned itself.
‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ is a stand out for its blend of heaviness and deep rooted county undertone helped with the appearance of John Carter Cash and his wife Ana Cristina Cash with Randy Blythe helping to hold down the heavy end of the musical spectrum. Lee Ving of Fear guests on another Cash track ‘The Man Comes Around’, adding a bit of his unique flavour. ‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere’ is a ‘Turn the Page’ moment, taking a very catchy song about the touring life and making it all their own, while remaining true enough to the source material that it’s almost instantly recognisable.
‘Copperhead Road’ was a song that I thought might fall flat, still played daily on almost every rock orientated radio station in this country. Thankfully I was wrong, here the band again make the song all their own while remaining true enough to the original, Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists ably trading vocals with Dez.
By the end I can’t think of this being anything but a DevilDriver album. Much like Metallica, the band have taken inspiration from music they enjoy and made it all their own. On paper this just shouldn’t work, but it does, and even more so if you are perhaps a little more ignorant to the country music source material.
- Country Heros
- Whisky River
- Outlaw Man
- Ghost Riders In The Sky
- I’m The Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)
- If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)
- The Man Comes Around
- A Thousand Miles From Nowhere
- Copperhead Road
- Dad’s Gonna Kill Me
- A Country Boy Can Survive
- The Ride