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REVIEW: Devildriver + All That Remains + Lycanthrope | The Valley Drive In - Brisbane | 24.08.19

Review: Nev Pearce

Photographer: JD Garrahy

Five years is a hell of a long time, that’s how long ago California powerhouse metal band Devildriver set foot in Australia.

In that period the band have released two killer albums and frontman Dez Fafara has gotten sober and started a management company, so to say we have a lot of catching up to do is an understatement.

Tonight’s show at the Valley Drive-in is sold out and rightfully so, fans have been waiting so long to see Devildriver again that even the line for the merch desk is epically long with fans buying up all the shirts they can.

Opening the gig are Lycanthrope from Newcastle who has scored the national support for the tour after recently hitting the road with Devildriver in Japan.

Frontman Daniel Greig quietly makes his way on stage for a solo melodic vocal performance, It’s an unpredictable way to kick off a metal gig that’s for sure but it showcases Greig’s superb vocal ability and manages to draw a few curious people to the front before the heaviness kicks in.

The band have a great turn out for their early slot and even incite a circle pit with their heavy grooves and stage presence.

One of the highlights of their show is the use of dual vocals between Greig and guitarist Aiden Lee who’s own singing abilities are equally impressive and complements the quality songwriting from the six-piece.

Sadly their set suffers a little bit from an uneven mix front of house, with drums and vocals overpowering guitars especially during the faster moments, which is unfortunate and no fault of their own.

Despite this Lycanthrope put on a killer set and will be definitely keeping an eye out for when they return to Queensland in the future.

Next up is U.S metalcore legends All that Remains, who have the place so tightly packed that it is almost impossible to make your way to the front.

By this time the crowd have had a few beers and eager to let off some steam in the pit.

Ripping into This Calling from The Fall of Ideals album, the pit instantly turns into a maelstrom of pure chaos.

While their performance isn’t as high energy as the band before them they more than make up for it with a well crafted set that is expertly executed with tracks like Chiron, Fuck Love and Air That I Breathe keeping the punter's energy levels soaring and the bodies moving.

Frontman Phil Labonte knows how to work the crowd.

His commanding stage presence and vocal chops are amazing live and there is a reason he is considered one of the best in the genre. (not to mention he could be mistaken for John Cena from a distance too, uncanny!)

All That Remains set comes to a close with Two Weeks, leaving the die-hard fans screaming for more and with high hopes they return for a headline tour in the not too distant future.

Let’s cut straight to it, Devildriver are one of the best metal acts around and as soon as the opening samples to Ruthless start the crowd surges to the front to await their hero to grace the stage.

As soon as the fans even get a glimpse of Dez Fafara walking onto the stage the place goes crazy with excitement and praise for the metal veteran and his band of maniacs.

Even this early on in the night you can tell that Dez and the boys are in top form and slam into their set with unbeatable power and determination.

It’s no secret that a Devildriver pit is serious business and is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Every time I have seen them play I have decided to watch from a safe distance and tonight is no different.

Maybe it’s my age, but I absolutely admire the bravery of anyone game enough to get among it and throw down with their fellow ‘driver family, it’s bat shit crazy in there!

They follow up Ruthless with Grinfucked and Cry before ramping things up another notch with the I Could Care Less, Wander and My Night Sky.

Another highlight is their cover of Awolnation’s Sail, which has become a staple of the set over the last few years and gives everyone a moment to catch their breath before the intensity ramps up again with Before the Hangman’s Noose.

‘Without this next song, I wouldn’t have had a 26-year career, open that pit up we’re gonna go loco motherfuckers’ proclaims Dez before treating the fans to the Coal Chamber classic Loco, which sounds insanely savage with the signature Devildriver guitar tone.

Not only do we get Loco but also a bonus Coal Chamber tune straight after, Fiend from 2002’s Dark Days.

Hearing the Coal chamber tracks live again is something pretty special for some of us old school fans who remember getting the records the day they came out.

I really hope that this is something that the band plan on doing more of in the future as well (Sway and Big Truck...please and thank you!)

The gig comes to a close with fan favorites Clouds Over California and End of the Line, pushing through one last burst of energy before their triumphant farewell.

The one interesting thing about the gig in reflection was there weren’t too many phones being held up until the very last song.

It is common knowledge that this is a very rare occurrence at shows these days, with many artists expressing their frustrations with the practice of people not putting the phones away and being in the moment.

Devildriver are a band that demands your attention and give 100% to every performance they do no matter the venue or crowd and are the perfect example of showmanship, this is why they hold your attention.

Hopefully, it won’t be another five years before we see them again, when they do return we will be there and ready to do it all over again, let's make it sooner rather than later this time lads!

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