WORDS: MICHAEL WOODWORTH
A lot can happen in two decades; an intricate universal flow found deep in every single person, pushing them in the direction of their fate. Even more intricate is the journey a group of people take together as a band; from finding their sound to controlling the stage, each flow blends together, creating a beautiful everlasting moment. California’s iconic metal outfit DEVILDRIVER is nearing the twenty year mark and has a remarkable career of moments to reminisce on while also looking forward to a strong, bright future. Putting out a twin album project is just the tip of the iceberg.
“This is the happiest I’ve been with a record since The Last Kind Words and the greatest part is [there are] two now,” shares guitarist Mike Spreitzer.
The project, Dealing with Demons, is split between two albums, the first, entitled Dealing with Demons I, being released October 9th, 2020 via Napalm Records. Originally, the band and producer Steve Evetts tossed around ideas of staggering releases over a year or splitting the material between four EPs before deciding on two full-lengths. Writing started in early 2018 and is the first original material since 2016s Trust No One, focusing on themes of demons that have been plaguing the band throughout their career. The group – frontman Dez Fafara, Spreitzer, guitarist Neal Tiemann, drummer Austin D’Amond and bassist Diego Ibarra – made the project come alive by working along different avenues of success.
“This is the happiest I’ve been with a record since The Last Kind Words and the greatest part is [there are] two now…”
“Everything was done long before the pandemic [but we] did do things a fair amount differently with this record as compared to what we have before,” shares Spreitzer. “One thing we did this record we never did before was put it together as a band; and that’s me, Austin and Neal.”
Each song focuses on individual demons and struggles, ultimately painting a arching story of honesty and introspection, perfect for a purging of demons. The way the world has been going in 2020, Dealing with Demons, is just what the metal scene needed. Featuring singles “Nest of Vipers,” “Iona” and “Keep Away from Me,” the first of two installments is an onslaught of tenacity and showcases exactly what DEVILDRIVER is all about.
“It always starts out writing on our own and bringing it to my studio,” explains Spreitzer. “Austin and Neal work on it, send demos to Dez to get a feel for it and he’ll make suggestions; usually just take demos and make whatever changes the producer wants and then rerecord again.”
Fans connect to the music on a personal level and relate to Fafara’s words and the music in their soul, as most struggle with the same topics. Farfara pours his heart and soul into the album, vowing to release himself from these topics for good in this release.
Considering how bad the music scene was hit during the COVID pandemic, there is no concrete idea of when live shows will come back and what they will even look like. This leads to an indefinite heartbreak for music lovers everywhere, now suddenly unable to share a night or nights with their favorite artists. Spreitzer believes in the scene.
““Luckily, the metal crowd has the mentality of ‘fuck the rules‘….”
“I don’t think anything has changed. We thought about doing some live shows online but [it wasn’t for us]. For our scene, it’s going to be one of the last things to fully open up again with so many people in close proximity to one another. One guess is once the vaccine is released and safe and effective, things will start to get better; it might take some time depending on how long it takes the vaccine to go to the majority of the world.”
Although the world is now in an indefinite purgatory, waiting until something comes together and a new normal to sprout up will have to do in the meantime. Times are quickly changing but luckily, the music scene is resilient, chomping at the bit to start live shows back up, providing a much needed escape from everyday life. DEVILDRIVER has seen a few things and is no stranger to adaptation. It’s all about moving forward, pushing and grinding, not even for a moment, for fear of life tumbling out of control.
“The [main] factor is dealing with everyone’s trauma from social distancing,” explains Spreitzer. “Luckily, the metal crowd has the mentality of ‘fuck the rules,’ so I’m hoping people are so anxious to get back out at shows and to have fun and get back to normal; hopefully it will carry over quickly.”
DEALING WITH DEMONS IS OUT NOW VIA NAPALM RECORDS