After a relatively short hiatus, Devildriver is back with a new album, and an almost new lineup. I always worry when key bandmates return to a prior band or engagement and then go back to a project so loved by many. For Devildriver, that would obviously be Dez Fafara and the reunion of Coal Chamber. However, the hiatus was much shorter compared to many other bands who painfully keep their fans in wait, and the band even come back with a new album. Trust No One is finally here to prove if we can still trust Devildriver to deliver.
Ok, cheesy article-teasers aside, let’s start with just a little real talk. As much as Devildriver brings it, they never really had a sound that broke from the norm of groove metal. They follow many of the same conventions their comrades do, but their past albums have definitely shown that they do it all the right way. Trust No One still follows a lot of these traditions pretty loyal to the letter.
If there's one thing that Devildriver’s sound has been leaning towards in the past few albums, it’s definitely more of a focus on melody. I feel that the band incorrectly gets the label of “melodic death metal” when it’s pretty clear they groove pretty hard while still incorporating melody. It is still definitely groove metal, but Trust No One also has a lot more melody laced throughout. The album’s opener, “Testimony of Truth”, is a pretty good example as to how this is usually achieved in Trust No One. There is a good amount of chugging riffs to chew on, combined with a big emphasis on ambient and running guitar melodies in the background. The album’s title track follows this similar formula as well but with an even heavier emphasis on melody.
Now, if up to this point it has sounded like I have had trouble finding enough words to say on behalf of the album, that’s because overall Trust No One truthfully doesn’t really do a good enough job of staying above just a mediocre album. I really do like Devildriver which made me super excited to begin listening and reviewing this album. However, I will be perfectly honest and say that I actually fell asleep during my first listen of this album. It’s a hard thing to really say because there isn’t anything in Trust No One that can really be classified as “bad”, but in comparison to some of the works we’ve heard before, it was somewhat a disappointment.
When it comes to their heavier side, the band has just done much better in the past. And for that matter, when it comes to their melodic side, the band has also done that much better as well. Even Dez Fafara’s iconic vocals sound like they’ve lost a little of its edge at times.
As I mentioned before, some of the tracks have similar formulas which works well in small doses but not when it’s in virtually every song. It’s not so much monotonous as it is repetitive. Almost every song will have some generic, groove inspired riff and will eventually be joined by melodic guitars layered off to the sides to give a little melody. If you just flip back and forth between of couple of their songs, there’s not much that changes. And while that isn’t solely the mark of good songwriting, it goes go to show that moods and feels barely deviate or alter from each other which doesn’t really contribute to a highly engaging process.
But, I definitely have to give it up to Devildriver and Trust No One; when there are good moments, they are pretty kick-ass. “This Deception” is my recommended track for all listeners. While it’s not exempt from some of the criticisms I have given, there are still some awesome headbanging moments that had me come back to that track for more. “Trust No One”, the title track, is also a track I gravitated towards for similar reasons, but I think anyone will also be able to hear a lot of these flat moments track to track that I have mentioned. Yes, I just spent the majority of this article pretty much taking a dump on this album but I do believe a band like Devildriver also has a higher standard that they themselves have set with some previous albums. It doesn’t mean that I think Trust No One is horrible, but I don’t think I would call it good.
Criticism like this might be hard to take on a band so beloved like Devildriver, but these are just my honest impressions. It was generally a bit of a disappointment to get an album like this from a band that I admire very much as well. But who cares what I think, right? If you’re a diehard fan of Devildriver, then you are going to rejoice at their reformation and Trust No One. But if you’re not a prior fan, then this album might not be the one that will get you on their side.