Sound — 8
Ever since DevilDriver's initial burst of success, where their 2003 self-titled debut earned them a spot in the coveted Ozzfest a year later, and their 2005 follow-up album, "The Fury of Our Maker's Hand," hit #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, the melodeath/groove metal band have kept a healthy pace of albums coming out in the years following. But though their material still comes steady (even after parlaying from their original label, Roadrunner Records, to Napalm Records with no issues), recent years have shown some shakeups. Along with the band losing their longtime bassist Jon Miller, founding drummer John Boecklin and founding guitarist Jeff Kendrick within the past few years, the band's most recent album, 2013's "Winter Kills," was considerably lackluster compared to the ripping output of 2011's "Beast"; and frankly, there was no need for *another* cover of AWOLNATION's "Sail" in the world.
Perhaps noticing that dip in things themselves, DevilDriver's seventh album, "Trust No One," brings back the voracity in their metal sound with acerbic aplomb. Whereas the previous "Winter Kills" invested more in steady chugging metalcore riffs, nearly every song in "Trust No One" contains some amount of tremolo riffing, from the melodic tremolo in "Retribution" to the starkly blackened tremolo/blastbeat sections in "For What It's Worth" and the titular song. With plenty of the album being composed in that fleeting gear, "Trust No One" also contains an ample amount of quality riffs and guitar action, whether it be the pull-off riff in the opening of "Bad Deeds," the dual tapping fits near the end of "This Deception," the classic metal swagger riff attached to the machine gun chug bursts in "Daybreak," or the standout soloing in "Testimony of Truth" and "For What It's Worth."
The instrumental energy that "Trust No One" wields is certainly the most upfront appeal to it, but the album also does a good job harnessing the melodic factor of things. Going hand in hand with the prominent blackened feel, DevilDriver's melodies aim for despair and hit the mark well, heard in the forlorn progressions of "Testimony of Truth," the woeful post-solo interlude in "Daybreak," or the melodic riff in "For What It's Worth." There are cases in which "Trust No One" does lean on some of its tropes a bit much, whether it be the extraneous tremolo riffs becoming an uneventful crutch (see the dragging likes of "My Night Sky"), the template melodeath acoustic opening in "This Deception," or the triplet chug rhythm switch-ups used in "Bad Deeds," "This Deception" and the titular song, but outside of that, its compositional output is impressive.
Lyrics — 8
Fitting with the title of the album and the anguished sonic demeanor, Dez Fafara's lyrics in "Trust No One" revolve around former friendships and relationships soured by broken trust and betrayal. While plenty of moments have Fafara growling out the same kind of rage heard in any DevilDriver album (like the post-war imagery of a bitter rival slain in "Testimony of Truth," or the seething vengeance building to a boil in "Daybreak"), what resonates more is Fafara's own moments of pain and suffering in the wake of betrayals (like "As far as the eye can see / Everything looks black to me" in "This Deception," or "My heart / Can't erase it / Now I'm so fucking wasted / I can taste it / I've been destroyed by trust" in the titular song). And though Fafara has shown his fair share of repetitive rhyming in previous albums (that have been hit or miss), his lyrical flow hits some impressive, almost hip-hop-esque moments in the album, heard in "Bad Deeds" ("Torture tactics / Drastic, fucking plastic / So dramatic, tragic / Automatic / Overactive / Your antics just scratched it") and "Trust No One" ("I've used it / I've abused it / It abused me / It's confused me / And consumed me / I've been destroyed by trust").
Overall Impression — 8
With the tenured catalog that DevilDriver have, a new album of theirs can't simply be crafted in attempt to one-up all of their previous albums, but rather, has to be crafted to fulfill a certain role or vibe and hope it thoroughly succeeds in that goal. And while the metalcore-centric sound of "Winter Kills" left much to be desired in terms of what DevilDriver were capable of as performers, the unrelenting energy in "Trust No One" satisfies that craving with flying colors. But further than that, "Trust No One" succeeds as an album for the vibe of emotional turmoil it invokes, contrasting the vigor of the album with a theme of fragility (trust *is* easy to break), and giving its power depth, rather than just being an album of directionless intensity.