DevilDriver, Whitechapel, Carnifex, Revocation, and Rivers of Nihil
live @ The Mohawk in Austin, TX (23June14)

Extenuating circumstance are, by definition, unexpected. Even the best laid plans can be torn asunder in Downtown Austin, where parking issues and homeless issues are to be expected. What’s not expected is the show starting at 5:00 p.m. Not “doors open at five.” This was “RIVERS OF NIHIL starts at five.”

The sun’s still up. What’s the deal here?

I’ve played it back in my head and I don’t know what the deal was but, for whatever reason, this show started at this ungodly hour and I missed the first three bands. Playing the blame game and pouring over the gory details of why this show started at five won’t let you know whether Rivers of Nihil, REVOCATION and CARNIFEX were any good or not. I assume they were enjoyable. No one was complaining when I finally arrived at The Mohawk to a packed house.

I’m not sure if this show sold out or not but the venue held a near-capacity crowd. Said giant crowd was pumped when WHITECHAPEL took the stage. I may not have seen the opening bands but I do know that Whitechapel is a much better band than when I last saw them at the 2008 Summer Slaughter tour. Whitechapel still employs three guitarists to play those breakdowns but, whatever. That’s the band’s calling card at this point so let it ride.

I’m happy to report that Whitechapel has shed most of the trappings of the deathcore genre. That guitar tone is still there but Whitechapel has moved away from deathcore into a more groove-based death metal direction.

They even played “Father of Lies.” Also, Our Endless War kicks ass.

Then DEVILDRIVER took the stage [at 9:10 p.m. WTF? – BNF]. Not to go there but I’m pretty sure that I was the only person in The Mohawk that even mentioned COAL CHAMBER that night. With the ghost of Dez’s previous band fully exorcised, DevilDriver proceeded to bash the audience with riffs. It was a “greatest hits” setlist with the band selecting songs evenly from all of its records. For me, the highlight of the DevilDriver set was the powerful yet somber cover version of AWOLNATION’s “Sail.” That said, the crowd’s most energetic response was to “Clouds Over California”, which generated the most mosh pit ignorance.

DevilDriver has achieved the impossible. The band created a unique brand of groove metal that is completely divorced from the-band-from-Arlington-with-the-deceased-guitarist. A lot of bands say that they want to “do their own thing” but they end up playing and sounding like everyone else. DevilDriver is genuinely doing its own thing and we are all better off for it, even if the show was completely finished by 10:30 p.m.

Review by Brian No Funeral

Photos by Brandon Bell