Live Review: DevilDriver & Trivium — House of Blues, West Hollywood
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 11:12:05
Peers can hardly ever match DevilDriver in terms of live intensity.
For years, California's most ferocious metal band has transformed every stage into a battleground with merely amps, guitars, drums, vocals, and a backdrop. Last night during a sold out show at the House of Blues, DevilDriver ascended victoriously (and viciously) to the next level like gladiators lopping off the last head of an opponent. This time around, the band had a mind-blowing light show complete with an ominous spinning pentagram to announce their arrival, flags draped from the ceiling, and risers to jump off of. Still, the reason why DevilDriver remain leaders in heavy metal is the songs.
"Ruthless" from this year's phenomenal Winter Kills engaged the stampede after an ominous clicking. John Boecklin married the funked-up panache of Tim "Herb" Alexander with fleet-footed double bass virtuosity that gives Dave Lombardo a run for his money. Meanwhile, on "Dead to Rights", "Oath of the Abyss", and "The Appetite", Jeff Kendrick and Mike Spreitzer seamlessly segued from polyrhythmic thrash mastery into incendiary soloing. The duo locked in with the chemistry of a classic team, while fusing their own unique identity. All the while, Chris Towning held down a steady low end on his bass that bolted "Hold Back the Day" into an unshakable groove. Leading this full-fledged sensory assault, Dez Fafara channeled a combination of endless charisma and guttural ferocity. It's the kind of stuff legends are made of, and you felt it as the band tackled AWOLNATION's "Sail" flawlessly or Fafara drove the immortal hooks of "I Could Care Less" or "Clouds Over California".
Devildriver 2013 is the apex of 21st century metal. Don't fuck with them or you will get steamrolled. Plus, they're badass enough to go from "Meet the Wretched" into "California Love" over the PA as they exited.
By the same token, Trivium also raised the bar for everyone else in the game. With giant silver "T" statues adorning the stage, giving it a futuristic spin with the robotic album cover backdrop for Vengeance Falls, the Florida quartet lit up every note of songs like "Strive", "Down from the Sky", and "Brave this Storm". Paolo Gregoletto's impressive bass bludgeoning practically shook the building, while Corey Beaulieu's six-string virtuosity made jaws hit the floor. Nick Augusto pounded away in perfect time behind the kit during "A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation". At the eye of the storm, Matt Heafy steered the course on "Kirsute Gomen" and a crushing "In Waves". Heafy's ability to simultaneously shred and sing makes for some of the most impressive musicianship in the genre and he does it with commanding bravado.
Overall, this package represents the best of heavy metal as its new forbearers solidify themselves as gods.
Were you there?