Way back in 1997 Coal Chamber arrived on the scene, riding the then-popular wave of nu-metal. The had a goth look and a Korn sound that brought them to prominence behind songs like "Loco" and "Big Truck." They would peak in 1999 when they released Chamber Music before disappearing following the 2002 release, Dark Days.
The band was disbanded by frontman Dez Fafara, who chose to explore the more extreme styles of metal. This led to the formation of DevilDriver. Their eponymous 2003 debut was pretty good, vastly different than his Coal Chamber output, but it failed to make much of an impression on me at the time. That was followed up with the 2005 release of The Fury of Our Maker's Hand, which I never bothered to pick up. We are now in 2007 and the third DevilDriver album is here, and it is a blistering collection of pure modern American metal that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go.
The Last Kind Words is a definite step up from the debut DevilDriver album. The songs offer up more complexity, some insane drumming, and riffs that while blast your face clean off. DevilDriver has become much more than Coal Chamber part 2, that would have been easy. Still, it has taken a few albums for the potential to start showing. Now, I know that I haven't listened to their sophomore release, but I can imagine the middling steps taken to get from Coal Chamber to the DevilDriver debut to this release. Their debut had nu-metal tinges woven through the more brutal metal that was being developed, where this one is more metal than anything else.
DevilDriver is a mash of metalcore, thrash, death all meeting at the crossroad of melody. They cannot be cleanly categorized as any one of those genres, but they aren't trailblazers either. When I finished the album entirely, I immediately saw strength and weakness built into the collection as a whole. Without breaking it down song by song, it was easily recognizable that The Last Kind Words was a solid album that plays on the fringe of extreme while remaining accessible to a more mainstream audience with its use of rhythm grooves.