Review Summary: DevilDriver make another DevilDriver album.
As we bow our heads in declaration that the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal is as good as done we must also raise a glass in admiration of those few bands in the movement that still remain. The movement itself was such an important phase for heavy music. Not only did it bring throaty singers and abrasive instrumentation into the mainstream but it also birthed the next generation of artists like Machine Head and Lamb of God that, while not as popularly, will eventually fill the shoes of pioneers such as Metallica.
Dez Fafara’s second son, Devildriver are such a band that have battled through the ages of the NWOAHM and still come out strong but their hardest challenge comes in the shape of their seventh album, “Trust No One”. It’s the first album that marks the departure of songwriter and guitarist Jeff Kendrick as well as drummer John Boeklin back in 2014, not to mention the recent reformation of Dez’s firstborn band: Coal Chamber. Despite this, Dez has assured us that the energy levels of Devildriver are at an all time high. However, can we trust him?
First impressions always count and luckily for Devildriver, they always create awesome opening tracks to an album. You’ve got “Pray For Villains” (Pray For Villains), “End Of The Line” (Fury Of the Maker’s Hand) and “Dead To Rights” (Beast) just to name a few but every album they have realised always has had an eruptive entrance that sets the unabashed tone of the following songs. And now we can add ‘Testimony of Truth’ to the list. “Trust No One” starts with vicious blast beats and alarming grooves that give way to Dez’s typical snarls. The belligerent tone is continued on ‘Bad Deeds’ where the guitars almost create a wall of aggressive sound beneath the hard-hitting chorus and Dez officially ditches the guyliner from his Coal Chamber restoration and sees nothing but red in the monstrous ‘Daybreak’ that also delivers a tasty dish of crushing grooves and shattering drums.
You could argue that “Trust No One” is a solid and imposing album that is bursting with authoritative atmosphere and you’d be right. But when listening to the album you can’t help but feel Devildriver are playing it safe here. The title track and songs like ‘This Deception’ are fast and hostile tracks, and the lyrical content of both songs are clearly aimed at something so deceitful that has provoked the band to this violent nature, however it just sounds customarily chaotic- as if it's just become unsurprising. The album as a whole basically sounds like another Devildriver album; the latter track even seems to nick some lyrics and melodies from their past work.
Amongst this feeling of predictable expectancy, Devildriver do introduce a number of experimental moments in “Trust No One”. These features largely take the form of interludes in songs such as ‘My Night Sky’ and ‘Above it All’. The former includes menacingly eerie guitars and the latter is a straightforward groove metal track but has some odd break in it that stops all momentum Devildriver have built thus far. The album closer, ’For What It’s Worth’, also incorporates a forgiving guitar tone- which is a first for such a ruthless band.
God Forbid, Chimaira, Bleeding Through and Shadows Fall are no longer and bands such as All That Remains are digging their own graves, Devildriver endure. The music on “Trust No One” is the reason why they endure but it's also quite simply the Devildriver album you've already heard.