Published Jul 03, 2018There are two ways to do a cover album. Either you put your own unique spin on each of the tracks, or you try to recreate the originals. Dez Fafara, the consistent frontman of DevilDriver and Coal Chamber, has made his position very clear. The songs on Outlaws to the End may be country, but you won't hear country music within ten miles of it.
What you're listening to, essentially, is a DevilDriver album with lyrics that happen to have been written by someone else. It's hard to see fans of Willie Nelson reacting well to Fafara's blast-and-scream filled rendition of "Whiskey River" unless they also happen to be huge fans of Wrath-era Lamb of God.
Randy Blythe actually shows up on "Ghost Riders of the Sky," one of two Johnny Cash covers to make the final cut. Others artists' work include Hank Williams (Jr. and III), Steve Earle, Johnny Paycheck and David Allen Coe. Fafara clearly knows his outlaws.
That's what makes this record feel slightly disrespectful. Had DevilDriver released all these songs with original lyrics, it would rank among their best albums in over a decade. To wrap these songs in the poetry of Heartland stars, without making any reference to them musically, feels like getting a stick-and-poke tattoo of the Sistine Chapel. Ambitious, but ultimately doomed to fail. (Napalm)