Saturday, May 21, 2016

Album Review: DevilDriver - "Trust No One"

DevilDriver, among prominent American metal bands, has reached that point where they can capitalize on name recognition.  ‘DevilDriver’ represents not just the band but a veritable brand, an assurance to the audience of the kind of chugging, angry percussive rhythms that no doubt permeate the content within.  DevilDriver the band has gone through some wholesale lineup changes in recent months, but nevertheless, the promise of the brand remains intact as they ship “Trust No One” to the world.  The continued presence of Dez Fafara insures that the product within is what has always been known from DevilDriver.

Which, sadly, is the failing of “Trust No One.”  This ten track rampage of songs sounds like more of the same from DevilDriver, with little variety and less variation.  Certainly, some of that can probably be attributed to feeling out new band members, but in their best moments, DevilDriver still found the time for guitarist Mike Spreitzer (or the departed Jeff Kendrick,) to give the audience a little flair, some bright riffing to hold on to.

“Trust No One,” in contrast, doubles down on the heavy rhythms and applies thorough pressure by making sure that every song from first to last is punchy and thick with grit.  What’s missing is a real sense of melody, replaced instead with just another layer of inky, black rhythms.  It’s hard to find an access point to the super dense construction of the record, because it all pretty much sounds the same.  Trying to single out a particular track is a rather hollow affair, as each one bears the same hallmarks and shortcomings.

What may come as a shock is the concept that “Trust No One” sounds dated and out of place in the modern metal landscape.  The past three or four years have seen a real melodic revolution overtake much of metal, even its darkest, dingiest corners, with every band out there trying to find the next accessible hook that breaks up the monotony of heaviness.  In ignoring this and instead doubling down on rhythm over melody, DevilDriver’s newest album now sounds a bit like an anachronism.

Apologies to the readers, at this site we usually prefer to go into much greater depth and detail about an album’s strengths and weaknesses, but there’s frankly not much to analyze here.  “Trust No One” is ten impenetrable cuts of thumping metal, no more and no less.  Which is even more frown-inducing in light of a pretty decent Coal Chamber album not so long ago.  Ah well.  Moving on.

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