After interviewing Wayne from Hatebreed, including a special guest who dropped in, one of the crew members from Devildriver, Aaron, who popped in to grab a makeshift arts and crafts project, Devil You Know opened the show in St. Petersburg, FL. From California, they brought the growling hard hits, setting the stage for the show.
Elbowing past security and photographers in the tight barricade, shooting the first three songs, squeezing through the ever-growing crowd is like being birthed again, sliming past bodies. The lead singer says that Florida is the first place of Death Metal. “A sea full of angry white people,” smirked the dark-skinned lead singer.
He said after hanging out with his dog, he missed this and came back. He belts out screams, and the drums paired like an angry march. “This is the way we die!”
The guitarist whips his hair violently. The supporting singer offers contrast to the vocal range. Low bass tones hit deep in the chest.
The crowd responds with angry glee. “Want more?” He eggs on the crowd.
“You’re guna hava a good night,” he said, knowing Devildriver and Hatebreed will make them erupt even more than the excitement explodes with the first act of Devil You Know.
The lead singer, Howard Jones, was formerly with Killswitch Engaged. Devil You Know has worked with producer Logan Mader, formerly of Machine Head and Soulfly, though I often lovingly remember him playing with the former lead singer of Ugly Kid Joe, Whit Crane, in a band called Medication. Be sure to check out The Beauty of Destruction and They Bleed Red by Devil You Know.
From Coal Chamber to Devildriver, Dez knows how to control a crowd, manipulating them like clay, making them bend to his will. Like a puppet master, he makes them dance and collide. The supporting musicians are not newbies, not millennials, but seasoned hardcore, able to belt out beats with high intensity; even though some may be new additions to the band, the sound is tight.
There are so many familiar hits. People scream out for their favorites in between songs. Dez comments that the crowd is wild, “turning a Monday into a Friday pretty quick.”
The beat slows slightly, the closest to a ballad he can get, but still has a beastly intensity like an animal slowly stalking its prey, then it pounces, drums mimicking a high speed chase. Guitar and bass growing that high speed fear, like being chased for your life, and you can’t help but feel your heart beat faster. You want to move, as you don’t want to be the prey, but the predator, feeling that adrenaline pumping.
Release it in the mosh pit, and slam into people as if you are fighting for your life or out to kill. The mood lightens with a light and almost ethereal entry into the next song, but then it grows into an intense battle once again. Heads band and bodies move as people scream in support.
Dez has an LED mic that lights up in the darkened room. Brian Sanderson of Vilest Breed said he lost 35 pounds by putting on Devildriver at jamming at the gym. It’s great adrenaline pumping music.
I chatted with the former Midwest Kings member, who now plays with Dez in Devildriver. In the lobby, the 33-year-old was friendly and approachable, welcoming fans. He and the drummer chitchatted with anyone who was brave enough to walk up and say hello; they were far from having a Rockstar ego.
Upstairs in the balcony, I spoke with a fan who was more than eager to see Hatebreed. He said he had seen them when they first came out and was still a hardcore fan. When the band came out, Hatebreed did a tribute to Lemmy of Motorhead, who had passed.
Hatebreed hits like a tidal wave, and there’s no escaping the audience surge. It washes over you and sucks you in like a violent undertow. Like a wave in the ocean, you move with the audience. Wet bodies slither like an electric eel, forward and back, side to side; where the audience goes, you go, as it is so packed, you can’t fight against the movement of the whole.
Jam packed, a school of bodies swim as one. Furious beats roll in, continuously like ocean waves eroding. It rubs up against you. Your head knocks like a buoy in a storm.
Hair flies around like tentacles, defying gravity, then clinging with wetness. People shout along with Hatebreed, venting frustrations with some moshing. Circle pit turns into more of a traditional mosh with knees and elbows; they’re not into running in a circle so much as slamming into each other full speed, crashing like waves.
Heads knock rhythmically. Jamie says people were giving him hell for not coming to Florida, but he said he’s glad he made it here on this leg of the tour. “This will end in blood;” he growls as if possessed by a demon showing his face for Halloween or the Day of the Dead.
The crowd sings along, a sea of eager octopi, happy to try to wrap their tentacles around the band, adhering their suckers, not wanting the show to end. “I was born to bleed…” The crowd is more than willing to pound out some bleeding bodies.
Hatebreed incites the violence. Jamie says, “everyone knows what a bangover is. And it’s not when you’ve been banging someone all night, but when you’ve been banging your head all night.” He names off albums and goes with the crowd response to see what song to play next; they erupt for Perseverance, and he plays the title track.
They go wild, dancing around in slam fashion. They are willing to lose their voices screaming and want to leave bleeding with bragging rights from being in the mosh pit. Release that anger constructively in the mosh pit, so you can leave too exhausted to go off on anyone at home.