Thursday, June 12, 2014

DevilDriver at Stage 48

After moving from Orange County to Santa Barbara, California, Coal Chamber vocalist Bradley James "Dez" Fafara bonded with guitarist Jeff Kendrick and drummer John Boecklin and formed a new band in 2002, eventually recruiting guitarist Mike Spreitzer and bassist Chris Towning. The band was originally named Deathride, but there was another band and a sports team using the name, so this Deathride changed its name to DevilDriver, which refers to the bells that the old Italian Wiccans used to drive away evil forces. DevilDriver's sixth and most recent album, Winter Kills, was released in August 2013.

At Stage 48 tonight, DevilDriver opened with "End of the Line" and "Head on to Heartache (Let Them Rot)," defining what the rest of the night would be. Singing into a vintage-styled microphone, Fafara seemed to be more of a blue-collar colleague than an aloof rock star. He sang with authentic passion and grit. The band performed brutal thrash metal with a taste of melodic groove metal thrown in, demonstrating that extreme metal does not have to be blindingly fast and blurry at all times. From twin guitar riffs to guitar duels, powered by pounding drums and topped with great growling vocals, DevilDriver showed its potential to become a leading band in heavy metal.

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