Dez Fafara may or may not be feeling the pinch to stay ahead of his peers coming into DEVILDRIVER's seventh album, "Trust No One". While much of what this band does classifies them as metalcore, there's always been an "it" factor to DEVILDRIVER. That something special whisks the band into its own sector of the genre. It's thus simpler to consider DEVILDRIVER a contemporary metal band, one that continues to employ other elements than brute speed and manic breakdowns, which are nonetheless plentiful on "Trust No One".
What's appealing about the opening number, "Testimony of Truth", is the vivacious musicality nudging through the brute force of Austin D'Amond's double hammers and Dez Fafara's locomotive barking. For all the hollering testosterone swamping the scene, there's still nobody who sounds exactly like Dez. While DEVILDRIVER has progressively fused harmony into its brutal crunch, the somber note scales and guitar whirls tolled within "Testimony of Truth" are ear candy.
It doesn't take long for the album to ugly up as "Bad Deeds" sprints away with gnarling thrash-mosh tempos and bass globs suitable to Dez Fafara's shoulders-squared squelching. The production tones on "Bad Deeds" are filthier than a piss-stained alley, and the grime is plenty appreciable. As tidy as DEVILDRIVER's sounded from album-to-album (and that likewise applies to this one), the mucky projection on "Bad Deeds" and later, "Above it All", gives the band a sense of honesty. As much as Austin D'Amond smothers the LAMB OF GOD-reminiscent "Daybreak" with compressing blast beats and Dez Fafara belches all over the thing, the grubby guitar slashes and muddy (though blazingly fast) bass plugs are nasty, nasty, nasty.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the ghostly progressions on the mid-tempo "My Night Sky" exhibits continued maturity in DEVILDRIVER's songwriting. As does the brief acoustic intro and weepy harmony to "This Deception", a prototype agro mash jam given luster by Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann's squalling guitars. The title track is undulating din, yielding the album's most proficient guitar licks, which says everything, considering Spreitzer and the recently added Tiemann work beautifully together on this album.
While hardly producing the same effects, DEVILDRIVER is approaching the same natural evolution point elder thrashers TESTAMENT, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX reached in the late eighties and early nineties. "Sound of White Noise" or "Souls of Black" this is not, but it's the comparable maturity of Dez Fafara and DEVILDRIVER to slow down in spots with the intent of dressing up the songs and trying out new schemes, largely with success. The choruses on the curling chum of "Feeling Un-god-ly" and the cinematic opening to "Retribution" alone separate "Trust No One" from its predecessors as the most advanced DEVILDRIVER album yet.