DEVILDRIVER / PRODUCT OF HATE / NO CONVICTION / CONSUME THE DIVIDE / COLD BEARDED KILLERS
Date: 13th July, 2018
Venue: The Forge
Ticket: $20/€17 (in advance) - $24/€20 (day of)
It was Friday the 13th alright but we had not run out of luck... You see, the end of another “long” week was about to happen with a bang, and with one of the few ways one can dust off his shoulders from the gathered fatigue from a working week; I am talking about a Metal show and in this instance DEVILDRIVER were in the driver’s position (pun intended), so the location had been set on that Friday night with The Forge on the GPS.
This was a short US run for DEVILDRIVER who most probably wanted to prep the way for the surprise release of the year. I am referring to the full of covers record where the Californian band goes Country but only as far as the lyrics are concerned... If you don’t know what I am talking about, then sampling “Outlaws 'Til the End, Vol. 1” will definitely help you to get my point. And to be honest, I was expecting to get some of those covers on the setlist, but as things turned out, I am in no position to complain; not even close, so allow me to tell you why.
Sure, it is great to finish a week with a Metal show but it is also tough to make it to the venue early and catch all the supporting bands. So, by the time we entered the always welcoming The Forge, the stage was being arranged for PRODUCT OF HATE. The audience was a nice mix of different age groups and seeing so many young faces proved that DEVILDRIVER’s music appeals to the younger metalheads and this feels great because no matter what you believe, this scene and especially the live shows need this type of attendance boost. Anyway, enough with blabbing, onwards with the show...
A few minutes after 9pm, the stage was ready and the lights went out, meaning that it was show time. The show intro brought the band onstage and you could see in their eyes that things were about to get steamy. Sure, PRODUCT OF HATE’s Groove Thrash may not stand on top of my picks-to-listen list when at home, but given the right conditions, this type of Metal will give you a hard run for your money. Yeah, guitarist Gene Rathbone called for a circle-pit and even though this was the start of the set, the audience reacted appropriately when “Euphoria ” kicked off the set. The PANTERA-esque groove and the vein-popping Anselmo-like singing were more than it was needed to get the blood start pumping hard. “Ok Joliet, we are PRODUCT OF HATE in case you haven’t heard of us”, said singer Adam Gilley who was already sweating his arse off, even though this was about to be the second song of the set. The band’s sweat had its pay off as The Forge crowd responded in a Metal way and did form a circle-pit for the thrashin’ “Kill. You. Now.” from the band’s latest LP. I think the way PRODUCT OF HATE have evolved their sound is getting closer to traditional snare-drum driver Thrash without completely abandoning the groove part of their music and this works extremely well with my old-school ears. “Rapture” comes from the band’s still untitled second LP and even though this was the first time I lay my ears on it, I definitely appreciated the riff attack and the melodic chorus in an AMON AMARTH way. Still, the intensity was in the red zone so headbanging and moshing were in the menu. Oh my, the setlist dropped the curtain with thrashin’ galore of “Blood Coated Concrete” which made me feel a bit bad for not paying attention to “Buried In Violence” when it was released since the video for this song had made strong headbanging impression on me. On the other hand, it really makes my day when I discover a band during a live show because in this setting you get a chance to judge their entire package and not just the studio doings. And yes, we were ready for DEVILDRIVER.
PRODUCT OF HATE setlist:
02. “…As Your Kingdom Falls”
02. “Kill. You. Now.”
03. “You Brought This War”
06. “Blood Coated Concrete”
PRODUCT OF HATE
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It took about 30 minutes to set up the stage for DEVILDRIVER and this gave more time for the audience to grow in numbers, so by the time the intro kicked in, the venue’s arena was filled up really good so things were at the right temperature, if you know what I mean. The strange thing with DEVILDRIVER is that I have not seen them as headliners before... Yeah, I have seen them onstage so many times (with the first time being around 2008), but each time was on a supporting slot. I guess, I was up for a treat, right? “End Of The Line” floored the gas pedal showcasing the band’s hunger to play live. The band’s energy level and Dez’s impossible-to-take-a-photo-onstage presence were all the audience needed to start a moshing-party. Ok, the sound was kind of blurry or stuffed in the beginning and I think this has been the case for almost every DEVILDRIVER set I have been. Anyways, Dez’s statement “I feel like home here” was a powerful indication of how the night would go on. “Hold Back The Day” came almost without pausing and there were already crowd-surfers sailing all the way to the front where Dez was waiting for them to greet and high-five them. Here, I have to give lots of kudos to the venue’s security team for handling the crowd as they should; with respect and with the focus being on having a great time while staying safe. Trust me, I have encountered more times than I care to count security crews which think their job is to be cocky and ready to fight the paying customer... With this in mind I did not care if the photo-pit area was cut in half and I had to remain on one side during “Grinfucked” which - by the way - sounded as brutal as it should. The rest of the band shared the same energy rush with Dez who did not stop roaming around the stage and interacted with the DEVILDRIVER fans like he was greeting old friends.
“Joliet, fuck! I told you it feels like home when we come here” said Dez to his bandmates and this was the first song from the band’s latest release (not counting the covers one) and I think this happened when the sound seemed to approach a sweeter spot. Yeah, “These Fighting Words” sounded great and I think you can imagine how much violent fun everyone had with the double-drum bass galore and the “Unbelievable, unbelievable” lyric part along with the killer riffs sending massive shivers down my spine. Dez gave a short pep talk before this one, urging everyone to keep his head up “in this fucked up and depressive world we’re living”, and watching all these young faces around me, I found his words most appropriate. Because, the modern trend is to keep everyone in herds having stripped people from their need to make a stand and carve their own path in life.
And these were not the only non-sung words we got to hear from Dez. Just before the amazing cover on AWOLNATION's “Sail”, the singer shared his thoughts about the drug industry and how society deals with the still-growing sickness of people committing suicide. Oh yeah, it was time to get massive goosebumps with DEVILDRIVER’s edition on the AWOLNATION song. Things got even better with how this song was accepted by the audience, and aside for the going-strong moshing, there was a loud singing-along too. It’s official, DEVILDRIVER has entered my short-list of bands which can make a cover song 666 times better and end up almost owning it. You should definitely check how DEVILDRIVER understand Country in their latest studio offering.
It was six years ago when nowadays ex-DEVILDRIVER guitarist Jeff Kendrick saw his guitar getting stolen in a show at the same venue. Dez talked about this incident only to underline how Joliet’s Metal society reacted to this, resulting in the guitar being return to the police. Yeah, this was one of the reasons why DEVILDRIVER feel like home in this town and I think you can imagine how “Clouds Over California” went down... "Absolutely frickin’ awesome" are the right words to use here. It felt like time had passed by faster than the clock was saying, and there we were watching DEVILDRIVER wrapping things up with “Ruthless” and “The Mountain”. Just before the last of the two, Dez thanked everyone for coming out and underlined the importance of supporting local bands because this is one of the things that keep this scene alive. After the pounding setlist closer, the band left the stage, and really, it felt like that was it. The audience had a different opinion and started calling out for “one more song” in such a loud way that made it impossible for DEVILDRIVER to refuse. Watching the band return onstage made me realize that this may have been the best call-for-encore responses because sometimes doing encores feels like part of the show and not at all spontaneous. “We don’t do encores and it has been seven years since the last time we did one”, said Dez, acknowledging the love the band got from the metalheads inside The Forge. The headbanging rhythm section of “Meet The Wretched” was the best choice for an encore and a promise that DEVILDRIVER will soon return to Joliet, and guess what; we will be there to headbang with them!
01. “End Of The Line”
02. “Hold Back The Day”
04. “Cry For Me Sky (Eulogy Of The Scorned)”
06. “These Fighting Words”
07. “My Night Sky”
08. “Sail” (AWOLNATION cover)
09. “I Could Care Less”
10. “Clouds Over California”
12. “The Mountain”
13. “Meet The Wretched”
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