Review: DevilDriver – Trust No One

I’ve been a fan of DevilDriver since seeing them alongside of Phil Anselmo’s Superjoint Ritual in 2003. An established Coal Chamber fan, I was highly welcoming to Dez Fafara’s new band and was I amazed by their performance. As the years went on, my interest in DevilDriver faded. They’ve always been a great band that always grew with each album, but they never really kept my attention for long. When I heard Coal Chamber had reformed for a new record I thought that this was the end of DevilDriver and the triumphant return of Coal Chamber, especially after Devildriver went on hiatus. Fortunately, after several years away from DevilDriver we learned that Dez Fafara wasn’t about to abandon the band that elevated his career. After hearing ‘Trust No one’ I am damn grateful, because this album was the shot in the arm my love of DevilDriver needed.

Coming a long way from their debut, DevilDriver delivers great deal of melody to this album, while remaining quite heavy. The use of melodic leads over chugging riffs and thumping rhythms gives the album a lot of character, especially the guitar solos sprinkled throughout. That begin said, DevilDriver brings a great deal of technicality to their music, thus giving the album a modern appeal, while holding true to their groove metal roots. As well, the use of shadowy backing vocals alongside of Dez Fafara’s leads give the album a haunting feel. In fact, two of the album’s greatest strengths are its atmosphere and versatility. As funny as it sounds, no two songs sound the same, which is a major issue with modern American metal today.

Other points of interest on the album are the use of ambient sound, synths, and guitar effects to deliver something of a horror movie feel, especially on ‘My Night Sky’ and ‘Daybreak.’  Above all else, the groove elements are what really drive this album. When the melody takes a backseat and the rhythm takes control this album really shines.

Some might say that this album is a bit too experimental and hard to distinguish, but that’s honestly another strength. The fact that it’s not easily placed in the groove or melodic death category makes it stand out so much more than previous entries.  So what are the low points of the album? Well, some might decry that the album is too experimental, as already noted, and isn’t a heavy riff fest from start to finish, but others might celebrate that. The only real criticism is that the rhythm guitar feels a bit quiet at times and perhaps a little repetitive, but beyond that this is a solid album. In all honesty, what makes this album good or bad is all a matter of perspective and taste.

After listening through this album several times I grew to appreciate it more and more. To me, this is the best DevilDriver album in years. The wide range of inspiration is evident and the emphasis on melody without losing that hard groove-meets-death metal edge is well-received. Overall, there’s little complaining to be done, if any. 9/10

 

Standout tracks include: Trust No one, Testimony of Truth, Daybreak, and This Deception

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