Concert Reviews

Devildriver - Jinjer - Raven Black - Dark after Dawn - Vision Serpent
Nov 5th 2018
The Chance, NY, USA
Review By: Stefan Raspl

A cold, rainy Monday, approx. 200 in attendance. Which, as I was told, was quite a good turn out, and filled the small place quite decently! Awesome venue, an old theater with a balcony that is opened when enough folks attend, so closed today.

We only arrived for the final 3 songs of Raven Black (no disrespect to the other bands - only made it out of office late). Nice visuals, with the guitar player wearing some kind of a brace(?) around his head (might have been some kind of mask, or, watching some live footage, actually some weird make-up), the female vocalist dressed up like a doll from hell, using various gimmicks during her performance. Every day is Halloween, huh? The music didn't stick with me at all, though, but maybe that's just because 3 songs is too short to leave an impression.

Next up was Jinjer: An Ukrainian(!) band, apparently around for a while, and a good portion of the crowd seemed to be familiar with them, hence receiving good response. The drummer was playing an interesting setup, with the cymbals hanging really low, and toms slightly skipped away from rather than to him. Playing wise very solid, with the a punchy (and very competently handled!) bass that hit you right in the gut dominating the sound in quite a lot of places. Otherwise, I felt the guitar was a bit buried in the mix. Lots of start djent-style riffing, and blast beats thrown in for good measure. What really stuck out was the very cool female vocalist that came off very authentic (further enhanced by the stark contrast to Raven Black's vocalist) and is one of the very, very few females that can deliver a convincing growl as used as her main singing voice. She used an even deeper growl in a few spots only, that I was totally impressed with. A bit too much of her (pretty good!) clear singing voice for my taste, though. Their material is probably best described as a mixture of progressive metal core, if that makes any sense. It varied a bit, with a slower, atmospheric song thrown in in the middle of their estimated 30 minute set. But unfortunately overall it did not enough to really stick out. I would blame it on the fact that they were focusing on that progressively interpreted djent riffing, rarely interrupted by brief blast beat sequences. But even when the vocalist was diverging into some of her lengthy clean parts, djent elements were still present, instead of e.g. getting some smooth flowing parts in as a contrast. They sure have their style, but it would take a bit more diverse song material like 'Pisces'. That was in my opinion the sole song that broke up their predominantly uniform set around the middle, to reach a bigger audience.

Devildriver totally dominated the place. Dez, veteran (and very sympathetic!) vocalist that he is, easily controlled the crowd. They did have the diverse material that Jinjer still needs to meet a similar level of, and did deliver on nice hooks here and there. Their performance was tight as hell, with the drummer pulling off impressive double base parts with ease. Their sound was top notch by the third song, and Dez is a really good (and rather underrated) vocalist with an impressive range of different vocal styles, all delivered very convincingly. Only their bassist looked a bit odd, for (a) being really tall, and (b) dressed like he's playing in a glam rock band. But maybe that's what gave their overall appearance that extra edge! I have to admit that I'm only vaguely familiar with their material, but was told that they played a couple of songs from their most recent release, which consists of country(!) covers. That was apparently not met with the usual enthusiasm among their fans, but I couldn't identify any country-like songs live. Plus the crowd reacted rather enthusiastic to all their songs anyway.

When they played classics like "Clouds Over California", the crowd naturally almost reached boiling point, though. Devildriver played for close to an hour, with Dez announcing that they wouldn't do an encore and just keep on playing instead. This being my first show attended in the US, I was totally unfamiliar with bands keeping their sets short/shows starting early, so all folks that need to work the next day still can get a good night's sleep. Very kind and considerate, but never saw that happen in Europe so far - you'd just take great pride in appearing totally wasted at school/university/work after a Napalm Death concert the previous night.

Overall, very cool show well worth attending, fun for the whole family, so catch it while it is still on. And that place ("The Chance") by itself deserves all the support it gets!

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