When Devildriver frontman Dez Fafara exclaimed that his band’s country-gone-metal album, Outlaws ‘Til The End (Vol 1.), “had to be brutal”, in an upcoming interview with PureGrainAudio, you could say he’d grabbed my attention. The premise for the album was to take some of his favourite outlaw-country songs and metal-them-the-fuck-up with a cast that, alongside members of Johnny Cash’s family, included members of Lamb Of God and Fear Factory.
So, does this interesting experiment work or, as has been the case so many times in the past when metal bands have done something different (Lulu anyone?), should ideas like Outlaws ‘Til The End be, well, outlawed? Starting with a familiar country twang, opener “Country Heroes” soon switches up with the almost Ozzy-like drawl of Hank 3 duetting with Fafara’s familiar tones to banish any thoughts that this is going to be an experiment that ends up with more in common with Nashville than it does with Napalm Death.
Now, if the opener didn’t put pay to any thoughts of this being a mess of an idea, “Whiskey River” pisses on those thoughts from a great height and certainly backs up Fafara’s recent comments that he wanted this to be brutal. Featuring Randy and Mark from Lamb Of God, this is pure brutality with DevilDriver crashing through three and a half minutes of blast-beat laden rage. “Outlaw Man” again, while nonetheless brutal, still has that country air about it but is black-hearted, middle-finger raised metal through and through. The rest of the album follows a similar pattern as Dez, along with a bunch of his mates, smashes through the likes of “I’m The Only Hell Mama Ever Raised” and the Burton C.Bell drenched “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me”.
Check out DevilDriver’s collaboration with Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists on “Copperhead Road”.
“A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” is one of the tracks on the album where the traditional country twang filters through while one of the more interesting partnerships sees Fafara team up with shock-horror rocker Wednesday 13 for a pulverizing “If Drinking Doesn’t Kill Me”. By the end of the album, it’s hard to disagree with Fafara when he said these songs needed to be brutal because there are plenty of times when this album literally pummels you.
Outlaw country music has more in common with the metal scene than most people will appreciate - it’s about drinking, it’s dark, it’s about the tough side of life and, while the genre may not be to everyone’s taste, DevilDriver should be applauded for grabbing this genre by the balls and showing exactly why this album needed to happen.
Outlaws ‘Til The End Track Listing:
01. Country Heroes - Written by Hank3 - Performed by Hank3 & Dez Fafara
02. Whiskey River - Written by Willie Nelson - Performed by Randy Blythe, Mark Morton of Lamb of God & Dez Fafara
03. Outlaw Man - Written by The Eagles = Performed by Dez Fafara & Neal Tiemann of Devildriver
04. Ghost Riders in the Sky - Written by Stan Jones - Performed by John Carter Cash, Ana Cristina Cash, Randy Blythe & Dez Fafara
05. I’m the Only Hell Mama Ever Raised - Written by Johnny Paycheck - Performed by Dez Fafara & Devildriver
06. If Drinking Don’t Kill Me - Written by George Jones - Performed by Wednesday 13 & Dez Fafara
07. The Man Comes Around - Written by Johnny Cash - Performed by Lee Ving of FEAR & Dez Fafara
08. A Thousand Miles from Nowhere - Written by Dwight Yoakam - Performed by Dez Fafara & Neal Tiemann of Devildriver
09. Copperhead Road - Written by Steve Earle - Performed by Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists & Dez Fafara
10. Dads Gonna Kill Me - Written by Richard Thompson - Performed by Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory & Dez Fafara
11. A Country Boy Can Survive - Written by Hank Jr. - Performed by Dez Fafara & Devildriver
12. The Ride - Written by David Allan Coe - Performed by Lee Ving of FEAR & Dez Fafara
Run Time: 45:35 Release Date: July 6, 2018 Record Label: Napalm Records