It’s hard to listen to the new Devildriver record and not recognize a superior killing machine in a mode of complete annihilation. Despite major line-up changes that occurred after the Winter Kills album cycle, the band we hear on Trust No One is very much still the DevilDriver fans know and love, but enhanced to an even sharper degree. The hooks and dynamics of songs like “Testimony of Truth” and “My Night Sky” are balanced out by neck-snapping, fist-pumping anthems elsewhere on the record. Lead single “Daybreak” is a prime example of both sides of the coin demonstrated professionally, a song that is destined to become a staple in the band’s already lengthy list of classic cuts. And despite his furthering age, frontman Dez Fafara still has plenty of spite left in him that drive ragers like “Bad Deeds” and “Retribution” to hateful heights.
In maintaining the band’s consistently killer reputation in metal, the moments that are worthy of headbanging on Trust No One are plentiful, maybe even more frequent than before and that’s a compliment to a band that’s 15 years in the making. How refreshing it is to be able to say that DevilDriver haven’t found a resting place yet because with the addition of Austin D’amond and Diego Ibarra’s rhythm section in addition to Mike Spreitzer’s already phenomenal guitar work the band now have an even more remarkable reputation to uphold. How refreshing it is too for such a relentlessly grim band to feature such incredible songwriting that musicians of all walks could learn from. Interesting acoustic licks begin tracks on the record with a beautiful and haunting ethereality before lashing double bass and crashing rhythms break through. It all makes for a record so replayable and cohesive that even older bands should be taking notes. By the time “For What It’s Worth” rolls in and your neck is still aching, it’s a nice surprise to receive a more reflective and careful DevilDriver. They’re known for ending their albums on an intriguing and even softer note in order to create a contrast (Winter Kills‘ inclusion of the AWOLnation cover of “Sail” for instance), but it’s debatable that this track is the most effective in doing so out of their whole discography with its atmospheric sections. For a band so focused on tightly-knit groove sections and violent rhythms DevilDriver sure do bring with them some of metal’s most interesting and substantial melodic pieces. Niel Tiemann’s leads are consistently substantial, colorful and emotive which match up with Dez’s iconic energy as a vocalist. It’s simply satisfying to know that each member is truly notable as well.
With talent pulled from Chimaira, Burn Halo, Coal Chamber, and Wayne Static it’s safe to say that DevilDriver are now quite the eclectic outlet. The title Trust No One does after all imply experience, that these musicians have been around the block and gained street smarts. They know their priorities, their abilities and even scarier still, their enemies. If a listener is on the look-out for a band who channels their aggression with brutal and infectious succession, they’d be hard-pressed to prefer too many other bands in metal over DevilDriver. Their experience is that of a seasoned veteran and even if they end up with no more wisdom left to gain, we’re more than satisfied with a reiteration of familiar ideals. But for now, this old dog is still finding new tricks.