DevilDriver

support Sylosis + Bleed From Within
author LF date 13/04/14 venue Voxhall, Aarhus, DEN

My reasons for being at Voxhall on this Sunday evening were roughly 2/3 Sylosis and 1/3 Bleed From Within, but while DevilDriver is not a band I'm too familiar with, my preconception of them as a little boring was definitely put to shame. I'm not yet sure what part of this hard-hitting evening I enjoyed the most as every band put on a good show, but the part where I met a guy who turned out to be a professional balloon-animal-maker was definitely the most surprising and thus he deserves a mention here. In light of the recent Hatebreed show at this very venue, which a lot of people here tonight had been moshing at the day before, a healthy amount of people had showed up to check out the first band of tonight who hit the stage at 7 pm.

All pictures by Sebastian Dammark

Bleed From Within

As the members of Bleed From Within enter the stage to an intro of muffled screams and other dramatic sounds, the people awaiting them eagerly in front is definitely the younger part of the crowd. However, already come the second breakdown of their first song, a bunch of people move up to fill the gap in the middle of the pit whilst approvingly nodding their heads. There's lots of energy from vocalist Scott Kennedy tonight, and when he asks for a circle pit in his thick Scottish accent and it doesn't get started properly, he jumps the fence and tries to lead by example. They mostly play songs from their newest record "Uprising", and the heavy blend of groovy melodies and deathcore-breakdowns rips the place apart in no time. After the circle pit there's a solid gap in the crowd which doesn't close again, leaving at least half the audience seemingly satisfied with standing in the back for this band. They finish after thirty minutes of power-play, and while the energy emanating from them is infectious, Kennedy's constant pointing downwards and telling the crowd to bang their heads "all the way to the fucking ground" gets a little tiring to watch in the end.

7

Sylosis

After a short break thrash/death/prog metallers Sylosis take the stage, and as the tempo rises with their at the same time intriguingly technical and intensely groovy metal, there's no need for asking the crowd to move anymore. The strong riffs compel the people in the pit to move and they spontaneously mosh around, a bunch of people even trying to carry their friend around for a make-shift crowdsurfing experience. When lead singer Josh Middleton asks for a circle pit later on, it even works, contrary to before. The band is not at all as still-standing on stage as I had feared, with every axe-player apart from Middleton often banging their heads and appealing to the crowd. The show of musical skill combined with the irresistible riffs is exciting, and the overall sound is somehow fuller than that of the preceding band, but as the guitars are a little low in the mix, some of the really impressive guitar-play from Middleton is a little hard to hear. They really take their time developing their tunes, and especially "Teras" is irresistible as the rhythms are impossible not to move to. As they finish after a slightly longer set than Bleed From Within, the crowd seems enthusiastic, and Sylosis is definitely my highlight of the evening musically.

8

DevilDriver

Carrying us through a sound-check with remarks like "Pants! I'm not wearing any...", an incredible amount of time passes before DevilDriver actually begin playing their music, but as they finally do, the first thing pulling my eyes in is the microphone in vocalist Dez Fafara's hand which shines a blue light into his mouth all evening, turning him into a somewhat psychedelic figure. Now, while not very familiar with this band and their music myself, I can easily understand from the very beginning that there's a good reason this band has the reputation they do. The fast yet groovy music hammers at you with an intensity that never wavers for the duration of the hour-long set. Fafara spreads a good mood as he smiles dorkily throughout the set, his demeanor in general reminding me of Erlend Hjelvik of Kvelertak. Halfway through the set, he introduces their cover of AWOLNATION's "Sail" off their newest record, with a comment on how he relates to it because of his ADHD, which somehow explains his energetic presence on the stage. Since I know the original version of this song better than any DevilDriver-song, it's the one that I can spontaneously relate to the most, and it's an enchanting experience. The rest of my experience of this band suffers from my unfamiliarity with their material as the constant onslaught of it makes it all blend together after a while. However, the quality of the songs and the energy in the room is evident, and I only really get distracted from the music near the end of the set, so I leave the venue positively surprised by the powerful impression this band made on me despite my handicap.

Setlist:

  • 1. Head on to Heartache (Let Them Rot)
  • 2. Hold Back the Day
  • 3. Not All Who Wander Are Lost
  • 4. Before the Hangman's Noose
  • 5. Oath of the Abyss
  • 6. I Could Care Less
  • 7. The Appetite
  • 8. Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
  • 9. End of the Line
  • 10. Dead to Rights
  • 11. Clouds Over California
  • 12. Ruthless
  • 13. Meet the Wretched

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