I’ve always enjoyed Devildriver’s combination of modern metal, melodic death metal, thrash metal, NWOAHM, classic metal, nu-metal and crushing groove metal. Sure, they’ve had their ups and downs over the years with some albums being noticeably stronger than others, but they’ve always had enough meat on their metal bones to make me happy to listen to them in some capacity or other.
This moves us onto Trust No One. Over the years it’s become increasingly apparent to me that I do, unfortunately, sometimes judge an album by its cover. Never to the detriment of my real opinion of the music once I hear it, but prior to this I usually end up subconsciously forming a judgement as to the quality of the music based on the album artwork. As I have realised, a lot of the time I’m dead wrong on this. So anyway, in this instance I do not like the album cover. It’s not a huge thing, but there it is. The key thing here though, as usual, is that it doesn’t matter, and the music more than makes up for the lack of visual appeal.
Well, that’s a lot of words to basically say the music is way better than the cover might suggest, (although I feel compelled to add the usual caveat; as both of these things are hugely subjective, there’s probably people with the completely opposite opinion).
One of the things I’ve always liked about Devildriver’s singer is his rather unique voice; once he lets loose with his throaty roars and rasping screams, there’s not really anyone else you can mistake him for. This is a remarkably rare commodity in metal, and one which is rather under-appreciated. His voice is as close as you can get to unique in many aspects and I think it has served him well over the years. It may be polarising for some due to that very reason, but for me it has always been a source of gratifying aggression, even back to the very first Coal Chamber album way back almost two decades ago, (gulp, that makes me feel old…).
Musically Trust No One combines the aforementioned styles into a modern package that allows the different timeliness associated with the various aforementioned sub-genres to merge together with ease. They’re all variations on a theme that gel together nicely, complementing each other, but there’s still a certain amount of skill involved in getting it all to function appropriately.
On Trust No One the band have refined their heavy and melodic assault so that the songs return to some of the high quality levels that I associate with albums such as The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand, (still one of the absolute best albums in this style). Although Trust No One isn’t quite up to the lofty standards that I hold that album, it comes closer than I expected it to. When compared to what, for me is their weakest album, (Pray for Villains), this latest one is a real winner.
After some lineup changes and a brief hiatus, the band sound revitalised and full of energy. The songs chug, groove and carve their way through the 41 minutes of quality metal that they’ve unleashed, and it’s a great continuation of everything they’ve done in the past, refined and energised for 2016.
I always appreciate Devildriver’s determination to introduce the heavier, more extreme side of metal to wider audiences. Not content with the more commercial end of the spectrum, the band have a real metal heart and you can tell that the driving force of the band has always been a passionate love for the style. There are no compromises here.
Added to the heaviness of a record like this is the catchiness of the songs themselves. It’s easy to play heavy music, but can you also spin a memorable tune that will hook listeners in? No? Well, Devildriver can. And do. Repeatedly.
Seven albums in and Devildriver show no signs of slowing down. In fact, the opposite is true; sounding fresher and better than they have in some time, Trust No One acts as a reaffirmation of how good modern metal can be.
Trust no one? Trust Devildriver.