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  • Live Review: DevilDriver — House of Blues, West Hollywood

    Mon, 09 Apr 2012 08:12:07

    Live Review: DevilDriver — House of Blues, West Hollywood - Exclusive review by ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    The stage really is DevilDriver's Beast.

    The Southern California metal goliath's sold out show at the West Hollywood House of Blues was shining proof of that fact. There are few bands left who can pummel and groove like these individuals can. In fact, DevilDriver's greatest strength is its delicate balance between mind-numbing metallic intricacies—polyrhythmic riffing, carpet bombing-style percussion, and Satanic howls—and massive, arena-filling grooves. Most "heavy" bands specialize in the former, neglecting the ever-important hook in favor of multi-instrument shredding. Not DevilDriver though…

    Nevertheless, there was no shortage of shredding. Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer remain one of the tightest duos in the genre today. "Horn of Betrayal" dropped from bludgeoning thrash into a hypnotic passage from Kendrick before ramping back up into more aural battery. Kendrick also flawlessly lit up a fret-scorching solo on the marvelous beatdown of "Dead to Rights". Spreitzer served as the perfect counterpoint, matching his intensity and infusing a flare of his own during the leads and riffs. Both guitarists never stayed in one place for too long climbing onto the riser and running back and forth across the stage.

    John Boecklin anchored each song like a one-man stampede. "Pray for Villains" and "Dead to Rights" stormed forward at about 300 miles per hour under the push of his double bass pummeling. He nailed a deadly staccato somewhere between Ministry and Slayer with a little panache a la Primus thrown in for good measure. Simply put, he's a fucking monster in his own right…

    At the eye of the storm stood Dez Fafara. One of the greatest frontmen metal has produced in the past twenty years, his charisma and energy shook The House of Blues to its very core. During "Clouds Over California" and "I Could Care Less", Fafara seamlessly shifted from menacing verses into anthemic refrains, stirring the crowd into a frenzy simultaneously. He stalked the stage as a demon unleashed and ready for war.

    As any touring band will tell you, playing live is war. Guess what DevilDriver are metal's equivalent of Navy S.E.A.L.S.

    Rick Florino
    04.09.12


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