Review: Devildriver – 'Outlaw’s ‘Til The End Vol.1'

To cover, or not to cover; that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune… or in this case, the keyboard warriors with the slings and arrows. You simply can’t win with a cover version… unless you are Johnny Cash, of course. Having the Man In Black covering one of your originals was a badge of honour. Even better if Cash covered your song with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers as his backing band. Outlaw Country and Devildriver might seem strange bedfellows, but the stark narration of the lyrics and dark subject matter means they have more in common that you might expect. Enter Dez Fafara and company with twelve tracks honouring heroes of Outlaw Country on ‘Outlaw’s ‘Til The End Vol.1’. Yeah, you read that correct, Vol.1. Take that, keyboard warriors. Personally, I’d rather that a band I followed took a risk and put out an album that they enjoyed making, and, Devildriver obviously enjoyed making this one. There are special guests by the bucketload; Randy Blythe, Wednesday 13, Burton C. Bell, Brock Lindow, and punk legend Lee Ving all appear. Then there are some bona fide outlaw country offspring; Hank3, otherwise known as Hank Williams III, grandson of Hank Williams, son of Hank Williams Jr. He also played bass in Phil Anselmo’s Superjoint Ritual. His credentials check out. Giving the project the Cash seal of approval is the involvement of John Carter Cash, JC’s son. He appears with his wife Ana Cristina Cash on a riotous version of ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’. Hell, the vocals were tracked at the Cash Cabin itself. This is no hastily put together dumb idea (like the countless metal all-star cover albums out there), this is a labour of love. Hank3 appears on album opener ‘Country Heroes’ and pairs with Fafara to give his own composition a metal touch. Thanks to the high sheen of bro-country, Country is the C-word that no-one likes to utter, but if you grew up on Williams, Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, you can’t help but smile when they spit out the line “I wanna hear them old songs, nothin’ of the new”. Talking Of Willie Nelson, how about a helter skelter ride through ‘Whiskey River’ featuring Randy Blythe and Mark Morton from Lamb Of God? Yep, such a thing exists, and it’s a blast! Same goes for the steamroller through the Eagles’ ‘Outlaw Man’. Think that the Eagles were lightweight? Watch the two-part documentary ‘History Of The Eagles’, and see if you still believe that. Not strictly outlaw country, but check out these lines and see if you don’t recognise so many modern rock songs. “I am an outlaw, I was born an outlaw’s son, the highway is my legacy, on the highway I will run, in one hand I’ve a Bible, in the other I’ve got a gun”. The highway, the bible, and the gun. Just need to mention booze and that’s the outlaw’s creed right there. Talking of booze, one of the highlights on the album is the duet between Farfara and Wednesday 13 on ‘If Drinking Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will)’. The different vocal styles are incredible, with each complimenting the other. Originally recorded by George Jones, one of the genuine legends of country, and a man with a past! Before he got sober, Jones was a binge drinker and like many touring artists, used amphetamines to get through life on the road. Legend has it his wife got so fed up with his drinking that she took to hiding the car keys to stop him going out to buy booze, but she didn’t hide the keys to his ride-on lawnmower, so Jones waited for his wife to go out then hopped on the lawnmower and set off in search of a drink! And you thought that it was only rock stars that got up to shenanigans! The two Cash covers are direct opposites. ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’ is a romp that will have you singing “Yippie yi ooh, Yippie yi yay” when you are least expecting it, or banging the head to some Big Country-like riffing, Christ, that’s a thought… Big Country done metal style. The original version of ‘The Man Comes Around’ is a personal favourite, therefore I’m a bit protective of it. I was prepared to hate it, but Lee Ving is Lee Ving for a reason, and his punk snarl won me over. With a song like this, the lyrics must be heard, and thankfully the lyrics are still recognisable. Special mention has to go to Devildriver drummer Austin D’Amond, who puts in the shift to end all shifts. ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End Vol.1’ is not instant, it takes time and repeated listens. Yes, some of it has still to convince me, ‘Copperhead Road’ in particular, but perseverance brings its rewards. I for one am looking forward to Vol.2.  “Yippie yi ooh Yippie yi yay” motherfucker. I had to add that obscenity… simply had to. Available now on Napalm Records. Review: Dave Band image on header: Ben Hoffman    ]]>

Check Also

LEAVES’ EYES release new single ‘In Eternity’, new album ‘Myths Of Fate’ out 22nd March on AFM Records.

March 22, 2024  will see symphonic metal vikings, LEAVES’ EYES, release their much-awaited, new studio album “Myths …

BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE & TRIVIUM – ‘The Poisoned Ascendancy Tour’

Following much speculation online, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE and TRIVIUM have revealed details of a …

KAMELOT continues the Awaken The World Tour 2024 in Europe this October

One of the most prestigious and legendary bands in the modern symphonic metal genre, unstoppable …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *