Devildriver is most famously known as being the "new" band of Coal Chamber singer Dez Fafara. At least that is how I always thought of them. They formed way back in 2002 and I admit to never giving them a chance due to their Coal Chamber connection. Unfortunately for the band, I feel like I am not alone, but for better or worse I've come around and finally decided to give DevilDriver a chance with Winter Kills.

"Oath Of The Abyss" opens the record and immediately sets the foundation for the other ten tracks to follow. Although I absolutely hate the term, DevilDriver play something people like to call "groove metal" or what I like to call "almost nu-metal". Don't let that scare you away though, the band adds an equal part of melodic death metal that helps the "groove" go down a lot easier. A lot of it reminds me of a watered down version of Through The Ashes Of Empire from Machine Head. I loved that record and while I don't feel the same affinity for Winter Kills, it isn't in bad company. There also seems to be a considerable amount of later era In Flames influence. Lots of parts remind me of something you would have heard on Reroute To Remain. For some that may be reason enough to turn up their nose, but I've never completely hated that record so I mean it as a compliment.

The one thing DevilDriver certainly has going for them is their aggression. Fafara's vocals sound much better than I remembered and the thundering drums command your attention on each track.Also, the guitar work of Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer do a great job of playing off of each other and creating a blend of melo-death and american metal.

I'm not blown away by DevilDriver, but I am surprised at that fact that I don't hate it. Other than the absolutely stupid cover that closes out the record, the majority of the album is pretty good. Not good enough that I am going to go back to acquire all of DevilDriver's discography, but enough to convince me that they are a band worthy of more than their Coal Chamber stigma.