The DEVILDRIVER/WHITECHAPEL co-headlining tour featuring REVOCATION, CARNIFEX, and RIVERS OF NIHIL rolled into Dallas, Texas at the Gas Monkey Bar N’Grill last Sunday and JOR-EL, Jordan from Darkhouse Image and I were ready for a night of some kickass, fuck-shit-up metal. Add to that my friends Jose, Zane, Cody, and Parker made the trip too, and we were all set, right? One problem…Apparently I “wasn’t on the list”. BZZZZZZ…wrong answer. Suffice to say I was in ten minutes later, only to find that FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY dropped off the tour three dates earlier. So, getting past that disappointment I still managed to have an awesome time with my buddies. So much so, that I figured for this live piece JOR-EL and I would each take the lead on the bands we loved most. Hope you guys dig this hybrid thing we did!!
The Maestro: So the first order of business was to check out RIVERS OF NIHIL (not pictured). I have to admit when I first got this album I did NOT give this band its proper due. Well live they were fucking badass!! We were treated to some killer cuts off of their Erik Rutan-produced debut record The Conscious Seed of Light including “Rain Eater”, “Birth of the Omnisavior”, “Soil & Seed”, and “Mechanical Trees”. Although it was early, the place was packed and fans definitely made their appreciation for RIVERS OF NIHIL known. I will sure as hell be seeing them again!!
JOR-EL: CARNIFEX (above right) took the stage next for an earlier than usual slot but that didn’t stop them from slaying this audience. These guys definitely put together a strategic set of their most brutal tracks including “Hatred and Slaughter”, “Dark Days” and title track “Die Without Hope” from their latest release but they opened with the classic “Slit Wrist Savior”. Scott Lewis definitely knows how to control an audience with his sinister demeanor on stage and equally powerful vocal attack. They got the crowd jumping and you could just feel the floor just shaking beneath you being destroyed by this vulgar display of death metal.
JOR-EL: Modern Tech Metal stalwarts REVOCATION followed with an equally impressive performance. Dave Davidson and company completely reminded me of Rust in Peace-era MEGADETH while I was watching them with their guitar solo trade-offs and thrash inspired tunes. The set list included some of their most memorable work with “The Hive”, “Dismantle the Dictator” and closing song “No Funeral”. Before playing “Invidious”, they invited Ben Harclerode (drummer of WHITECHAPEL) to the stage to perform the banjo riff during the intro…THIS was an awesome surprise! The guys also performed a brand new track titled “Madness Opus” which is arguably their heaviest song yet; it had a PANTERA vibe to it.
The Maestro: And now we came to the moment of truth. For me, anyway. WHITECHAPEL, BITCHES!!! As someone who has gotten into the band heavily in the last year or so I was amped as fuck to catch these guys live for the first time. New album Our Endless War is a home run from top to bottom, and hearing songs like the title track, “Mono” and “Worship the Digital Age” in this live setting just made me want to throw my head back and howl at the moon!! One of the songs that drew the loudest cheers/war cries of the night was “Possession”. Frontman Phil Bozeman is exactly that, a man possessed onstage. And I honestly don’t know who was having a better time, WHITECHAPEL, or the fans!
Then they pull out the one-two punch of “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation” and “Vicer Exerciser” before we get to my absolute favorite fucking WHITECHAPEL song in existence “The Saw Is the Law”!!!! If you had any doubts as to who the majority of this crowd was there to see, this should have dispelled them. The band closed up shop with “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence” and at that point it was time for me to head out and let my guys finish out the night for me. But man did I have an awesome fucking time!! And I think it’s safe to say EVERYONE in my crew will be up for some more WHITECHAPEL shows in future!! JOR-EL, take us home…
JOR-EL: Finishing out the night, DEVILDRIVER hit the stage and opened the floor up with “End of the Line” to start the night with a somewhat familiar roster of tracks. It was easy to see that Dez Fafara was very excited to be in Dallas; the audience was matching his energy. A few of the highlight songs performed included “Nothing’s Wrong?”, “Before the Hangman’s Noose”, “Gutted” and “Meet the Wretched” which I’ve seen them close with multiple times. They also played many of their more popular songs which wasn’t unexpected but left me wanting a little more variety.
The quintet grooved their way through the night keeping the audience’s attention. As with Dez, I couldn’t help but notice guitarist Jeff Kendrick’s repetitive grins; these guys were definitely having a good time on stage making their performance shine even more. This group isn’t exactly the most technical band but at the same time they know how to move a crowd and although the band performed with excellence I have to say that Dez Fafara gave a somewhat lackluster vocal performance; some of the words were just cut short or inaudible. Other than that it was a killer night of a perfectly organized roster of some of metal’s best acts out there.