Dez Fafara regroups DevilDriver with some new faces for the new album Trust No One.
There is an old proverb of “The Only Constant In Life is Change”. While there are occasional bands that stand the test of time for years without a band member ever leaving or being removed, it is now more common than not to have a band with changing members between album releases for one reason or another.
With Dez Fafara now being the sole surviving member of DevilDriver after the departure of guitarist Jeff Kendrick and drummer John Boecklin, it may feel to some that the band could either be heading for a change or in a worst case scenario, starting to wrap it up. But if Dez has anything to say about it, heaviness will continue.
Trust No One marks the seventh full album from DevilDriver and the follow up to 2013’s Winter Kills. And in 2016 the foot has not been taken off the pedal from Fafara or the rest of the band including new members Neil Tiemann and Austin D’Amond. With new faces and hands in a long standing band, it appears that DevilDriver doesn’t intend to slow down.
Whether you have been listening to DevilDriver since the bands founding in 2002 or you just found out about them a few years back when they covered AWOLNATIONS’s Sail, you know this is a metal band that relies on a heavy rhythm. It’s the type of band you play while working out and you end up slamming a dumbbell through the floor while listening because you get so into the music.
The new album Trust No One falls into suit and continues that trend of bringing the heavy and keeping it consistent. Just from the album’s first single Daybreak listeners could tell that although there were big lineup changes, the name and music aren’t slowing down.
The shredding paired with Dez’s growling sounds sublime in the chorus. Even with the speed drop at a little over three minutes into the song, Daybreak still feels incredibly charged and moving. It isn’t reinventing the wheel in terms of mind-blowing creativity, but it’s solid and it feels like a complete listening experience from beginning to end.
Along with Daybreak, there are many tracks on this album that feel just as solid and complete. But one quality that stands out the most is the drum work of Chimaira’s former pounder Austin D’Amond. There are frequent examples throughout this album that you can focus solely on the drumming and hear just how much he adds to the experience.
Songs like Daybreak and My Night Sky set the best example of what you’ll hear on Trust No One. While there is a moment of reflection of lower speed, the tracks are mostly dominated by a heavy groove and strong chorus with Dez Farara giving his all into the microphone. It never feels like DevilDriver lose focus or are going through the motions. Whether it’s a feeling of rage or a sense of impending doom, the impression of a band all focused still comes in clear.
I love the dynamic in songs like My Night Sky. The mood and deep speed shift adds a dynamic to the song without making it feel like it’s becoming light. When the guitars and drums are going at full volume, drop to a rhythmic slow beat, and then pick back up, the song feels like more of an experience to listen to. It’s not overbearing and doesn’t drag too long in each sequence, all leading to a chorus that becomes the peak of the song.
There is a definite consistence in quality and firepower coming from Dez and company but in all honesty it does tent to be a bit overwhelming in a straight listen. There is a long sequence of tracks in the middle that will cause you to lose focus after sensory overload. That’s not a knock on quality, but it’s just too much to take in and it can dampen the listening experience. But while not every song in these sequences is worth a replay, the good definitely outweighs the bad.
More often than not a band has to change and adapt. There are unfortunate circumstances for some groups where after a member departs, the band just isn’t the same. Fortunately for Devildriver, it appears Dez Fefara is able to find people who share his vision.
Overall, Trust No One serves as a strong entry with some fresh faces in the continuing saga of Devildriver. Even if there are some songs that won’t be as played, there are more than enough tracks on this album that will satisfy both new listeners and fans back from the mid 2000’s. Even if the title is Trust No One, this album is one that fans of the band can put their trust in.