Death Valley Driver Choke the River

On their debut album, PEI's Death Valley Driver continue the swamp metal sound that's defined them since forming in 2008. Reminiscent of the best Southern-/groove-inspired metal acts, Death Valley Driver mix heavy instrumentals with a laidback drawl that could only come from the East coast. Choke the River displays PEI's "island effect" working its way into heavy music, and the result is earthy metal that sounds as working class and unpretentious as the province it calls home. Dan Hodgson's vocals bring a throaty fury that stays deep throughout Choke the River. There's an occasional scream, but Hodgson is at his best when pummelling each verse with his low-intoned growl. Guitarists Nick Doucette and Ray Blacquiere don't do a lot in the way of technical or speedy solos, but assisted by Ryan P. Gallant on drums and Ric Rumbolt on bass, the band deliver a top-notch debut. Solid from start to finish, don't expect Choke the River to stop for ballads or experimentation ― everything here is built upon a foundation of pure, heavy grooves. (Diminished Fifth)