© Olga Kuzmenko
Photos by Olga Kuzmenko
Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Live Gig Review by Alan Daly
This DevilDriver UK Tour was the only chance to catch Devildriver on stage in Europe in 2014.
Devildriver’s sixth studio album Winter Kills was released in late August 2013 via Napalm Records. The album debuted at #32 on the US Billboard 200 chart and entered numerous charts in Europe (#24 in Ger many, #26 in Austria, etc.).
Devildriver overlord Dez Fafara will readily acknowledge the basic tenet of heavy metal is to achieve the essence of power and complete freedom. At the most base level, it’s a concept that can manifest itself in the form of a high-speed joyride or defeating one’s antagonists, be they Frank Frazetta-rendered warriors or the guy/girl who was looking at your lover too long at the biker bar and now has a concussion and a collection of broken pool cues. On Devildriver’s sixth release, Winter Kills, the band certainly didn’t skimp on the riffage, the idling-dragster tempos or the sheer sonic drive that makes them one of heavy music’s respected outfits. Winter Kills is all about the creation of flashover moments to empower people with hope and affirmation—or at the very least, the inspiration for people to create great work and engineer their own meaningful universes. This ain’t no tired Tony Robbins posi-posturing or Joel Osteen’s cartoony, cash-and-Christ posing. The world got more oppressive, and Devildriver are stepping up their game to keep hope alive in the most bone-powdering, cochlea-bleeding, neck-snapping way possible.
Interview with Jeff Kendrick (Guitars) (Devil Driver)
It’s been almost eight years since Devildriver last visited these shores when they headlined the Rottfest on 666 (6-June-06). Having played mainland UK several times including appearances at the Download and Bloodstock festivals, it is surprising that they haven’t crossed the water more often to entertain an obviously large fanbase here in Ireland. Originally scheduled to play the Limelight 2 venue, the show was moved to the larger main Limelight stage due to popular demand. The eager crowd began to gather early, and metal fans young and old stand shoulder to shoulder at the front rail, securing their prime positions hours before the main act take to the stage.
Metalcore Scots Bleed From Within are first onstage and start the show with their breakdown-laden thirty minute set. Frontman Scott Kennedy seems less than impressed with the crowd’s lethargy and reluctance to start a full-on mosh-pit, and attempts several times to draw the bystanders closer to the stage. Nevertheless, the Glaswegian quintet give it their all and put on a quality show, despite deserving far better reaction than received.
The second support act of the night are four-piece Reading-based Sylosis who were involved in a serious motor accident while on a North-American tour with Devildriver and Trivium last September. Devildriver promised to bring them back on tour, and here they are. Well, all except for their drummer, whose unexplained absence is filled by Bleed From Within Drummer Ali Richardson who is still dripping with sweat after the previous set, but manages to pull off a flawless performance. Sylosis provide a further forty minutes of blistering metal, enticing better enthusiasm from the crowd with some small mosh-pits opening up.
Two great support acts pave the way for an anticipated adrenaline-pumping groove-metal climax to the night. Opening with ‘Head on to Heartache (Let them Rot)’ from their 2007 offering Last Kind Words, Devildriver hit the ground running and the venue immediately erupts into a melee of moshing and headbanging. Dez Fafara asserts his imposing dominance with middle-fingers aimed at all before him as he growls the lyrics at the audience. Playing a cross-section of five of their six album catalogue, weighted slightly in favour of Winter Kills, their highly acclaimed 2013 album, they prompt and encourage massive circle pits in the manic crowd. The volume in the venue is appropriately deafening, but unfortunately to the detriment of the fidelity of vocals and some guitar work, at least from our vantage point, stage right. Luckily, the audience join in energetically with the lyrics; particularly with fan favourites like ‘I Could Care Less’ from their 2003 debut album and the popular cover of Awolnation’s ‘Sail’ which was included on Winter Kills.
Not wasting much time on rehearsed chit-chat between songs, and omitting the clichéd faux-encore, Devildriver deliver a solid, well-rehearsed, seventy minute setlist of stomping tracks that pleases all. With a summer US tour planned, Irish and British fans will not be seeing Devildriver at this year’s UK festivals; but the promise to return after the release of next year’s follow-up to Winter Kills will be eagerly anticipated.