Back in the early 2000’s, Nu Metal was booming, baggy jeans, chains, terribly dyed spiked hair… Don’t shake your heads, some of us thought that was cool! Anyway, for those of us who embraced the nu metal period, having grown up in it, Coal Chamber were a big influence and when the band split it was a blow. However, from the ashes of the chamber, Dez rose again, this time with a more metalcore and groove laden approach, focusing on harsh delivery, big riffs and more focused anger. Devildriver was born and since 2003, they have been going strong and are a real live powerhouse. Thirteen years on, Dez and co. release “Trust No One”. Let’s see what has got up his back to make him a loner.
The powerful, melodic intro of “Testimony Of Truth” opens up the album. A melodic lead over a pushing feel and some harmonics gives way to the verse. As expected, it is standard Devildriver. Thick sounding powerful chords, subtle lead fills and augmentation, tight drums and Dez’s rawer vocal approach give us what we expect from this band who don’t believe in throwing a curveball. Filled with groove shifts, intricate riffs and a real rawness, it is the type of track you expect to open up a Devildriver release – heavy, hard hitting and headbang friendly in its choruses.
“Bad Deeds” brings the effects laden intro with the ominous vibe before the hammering distortion pounds away. A quick pace, twisting riff and quick vocal delivery packed with venom follows and the way the groove oozes through the track is fantastic, perfect for getting a crowd moving and opening up the floor for some real intense interactions. Buzzing guitars and quick changes in the pace of the delivery, leading to thunderously heavy riff and double kick bass drum sections work great and as you’d expect, it’s straight to the point – angry and loud.
“My Night Sky” brings in the tension building intro with its reverb and delay soaked licks. Stabbing, thick and heavy distortion with the scathing vocal assault of Dez leads into the truly pounding verse. With a pseudo-slam feel to some of the riff deliveries, the heavy low end orientated sound really rips through, driving home how heavy Devildriver can actually be at times when they aren’t going flat out for speed and aggression with their musical delivery. This would be a rather intense experience live, especially given how furious it comes across and usually, thunderous and furious delivery on record when delivered live usually leads to a rather invested crowd!
“This Deception” opens up rather strangely. With a bright piano melody under some insect buzzing noises, it kicks right into a real melodic, groove laden riff onslaught, similar to that of Devildriver back round the late 2000’s. Fast paced, scathing vocals and frantic lead riffs which cut through the mix, it’s a classic example of how versatile metalcore can be when performed right. Brutal in its own way with the barrage of riffs and intensity, it hits hard and doesn’t let up. The Middle Eastern feel intro of “Above It All” adds a touch of ominous feel with its gradual building intro and slight hypnotic quality and when it kicks into a powerful groove laden assault with a sweet sounding drum pattern delivered at a steady pace, it really hammers home the impact of the track. Raw vocals, pounding rhythms and thick distortion, it’s not groundbreaking, but it is effective.
“Daybreak” has a real building feel to its intro and the way the riffs come off with that rolling feel drum beat into machine gun bursts of aggression, it bears some similarities to Lamb Of God musically but not as irritating as them. A massive melodic hook laden chorus with an infectious lead stands out as a great moment, ensuring brief bursts of activity in a live setting. There’s a structured lead section over a chugging rhythm which has a real melodic delivery and decent flow to it, but despite its execution, to me it just doesn’t sit right given how Devildriver is about the intensity and the pace ultimately.
Up next is title track time. “Trust No One” Deceives with a slow melodic intro before exploding into a full on speed fest, giving a similar sound to that of 2005 Devildriver. Fast riffs, plenty of venom in the vocal delivery and a real kick to it. This is a track guaranteed to ignite the live crowd. With the melodic hooks and relentless windmill headbang groove, it steamrollers through like older numbers penned by the band such as ‘Hold Back The Day’ and ‘Grindfucked’.
“Feeling Ungodly” brings back the crushing, darker approach with some real intense pounding riffs which buzz away with precision over the piston-like drum groove. Thunderous bass brings a bone rattling low end rumble and the raw and throaty screams of Dez really add to the ferocity of the sonic assault and the penultimate track, “Retribution” follows in similar footsteps. With a very Coal Chamber styled start with a rich bassline and odd melodic leads, it sheds the weirdness for another slice of relentless groove laden metal. Fast paced, buzzing guitars, tight rhythms and angry vocals, the building blocks of any Devildriver track keep this approach up.
“For What It’s Worth” is the album closer. Initially bearing a resemblance to Chimaria’s ‘Down Again’ with its dramatic intro, it bursts into the pounding machine gun burst rhythmic assault before slowing slightly, letting an ominous lead melody surface just enough to signal the full speed attack for one last song. Pretty much like every other track, the speed and anger are impressively controlled and no doubt the hardcore fans will be delighted but overall, for a closing track, whilst it could be great live, I don’t think it’s a solid ending to an album which could have used a little bit more flair at times.
On the whole, Devildriver have delivered another Devildriver album. Tight rhythms, plenty of anger and groove and riffs, it does what you expect it too which is good in some ways, it shows that they aren’t losing their edge or adopting a more mainstream metal friendly approach, but the lack of a spark at times does hold it back. Not their strongest, not their weakest, just typical Devildriver.