DEATH VALLEY DRIVER (Choke The River) CD
Not sure if this can be counted as an album as this 8 tracker by Death Valley Driver clocks under 30 minutes but anyways in ca. 28 minutes the quintet (that features Gallactus frontman Dan Hodgson on vocals) deliver a slab of heaviness that is not only based on Metal but also their sound is infected by a southern vibe and a good dose of Rock. The opening song 'Choke The River With Your Dead' already tries to prove that the sound is rightfully described as Swamp Metal. Though the track is a damn heavy slab, it has a nice swing to it due to the shuffle rhythm.
'Mothsblood' in contrary is just a damn angry piece of music that is straight in your face. And those are the two things that Death Valley Driver combines -- some nice groove and a southern vibe, sometimes even getting into the darker moods of Down, faces straight Metal. No wonder I sometimes have to think of Pantera. I dig the band a bit more when they reduce the Metal and rock a little more like in 'Insect Dirge' where they sound at first like a pissed off version of Down on a Metal trip before diving deeper into the southern groove, while Dan is trying to get more melody into his otherwise more kind of barking vocal style. 'Heavy Lies The Crown' does reduce the groove again but includes darker elements and a more soulful guitar lead work while Dan shouts and barks out his lungs again.
'Sleeping All December' is a Groove Metal monster in the vein of Black Label Society where Dan shows that he does not have to shout all the time, but can sing a bit as well. That song sounds like a metalized version of Sixty Watt Shaman to me. 'Lambs In The Wolfskin' brings back the shuffle that makes for a nice little groove before the band changes into one of those modern staccato riffs that I dislike so much. 'Armour Divides' is at the end of this CD. The song sums up both the Metal and the groovy Rock of the album quite well. If you dig southern influenced Metal with a nice dose of Rock, or if you miss Pantera or if you are a member of a Black Label Society chapter, than this band might be right up your alley.