Devildriver, Sylosis and more at Backstage (2014)

Backstage (Munich, Germany)

Devildriver, Sylosis, Bleed From Within
  DEVILDRIVER, SYLOSIS, and BLEED FROM WITHIN have just started on a tour that sees […]
By Erika Kuenstler
March 31, 2014


DEVILDRIVER, SYLOSIS, and BLEED FROM WITHIN have just started on a tour that sees them blazing across Europe. The first show at which saw all three bands on the line-up was Munich, the town were all tours seem to either start or end.

First up on stage was BLEED FROM WITHIN, a Metalcore band from Glasgow, Scotland. Having seen them fail rather dismally at getting the crowd going when they opened for HEAVEN SHALL BURN on the Veto Tour at the Munich show at the end of last year, I was expecting the crowd to give them an equally chilly welcome. But to my surprise, the crowd soon was really into full swing. BLEED FROM WITHIN even managed to get a fairly decent wall of death going, as well as one or two crowd-surfers. Playing a setlist mainly based on their recent album "Uprising", BLEED FROM WITHIN definitely started the night on a high.


1. Intro
2. Leech
3. Uprising
4. The Novelist
5. Oblivion
6. III
7. Colony
8. It Lives in Me

But if BLEED FROM WITHIN warmed things up, SYLOSIS really turned up the heat up a notch. These Brits had a relentless energy that infected the crowd and this really got everyone moshing and headbanging. It was like a slaughter fest of Thrash meets a bit of Death, plenty of vigour to spread around, a kick ass live act to witness. I actually heard quite a few remarks later on that this had been the best set of the evening. Furthermore, at the end of their performance, there were even calls out from the audience for more tracks due to the level of intensity that their songs left afterwards. However, these were ignored, and the curtains were pulled closed as the stage was prepared for the headliners of the night, DEVILDRIVER. In a way, I'd say too bad because I was sure that these guys could have provided more numbers. But in the end of it all, DEVILDRIVER were the main event of the evening.


1. Fear the World
2. Stained Humanity
3. Conclusion of an Age
4. All is not well
5. Teras
6. Altered States
7. Empyreal

Appearing on stage accompanied by the frantic cheering of the crowd, DEVILDRIVER managed to get a circle pit going through most of their set, albeit with one or two half-hearted attempts at crowd-surfing. During the much beloved classics like "Clouds over California" and "End of the Line", the crowd went absolutely insane, with the mosh circle pit more resembling a whirling hurricane of fans that easily engulfed half of the space in the venue. The audience also really let loose when DEVILDRIVER played their cover of AWOLNATION's song "Sail". Although the performance itself was very good, the one thing that really was horribly wrong was the sound set-up. Even though the sound was top-notch during both previous bands' sets, the sound kept randomly dropping out during the DEVILDRIVER set, and the various volumes were also not very well panned out. Perhaps it was because of this, or perhaps it was because the crowd was entirely spent, but what really surprised me was that there were no calls for an encore once DEVILDRIVER's set was done. All in all, it had been an incredible night, and it was sad to see it end on such a low note.


1. Head on to Heartache (Let Them Rot)
2. Hold Back the Day
3. Not All Who Wander Are Lost
4. Before the Hangman's Noose
5. Oath of the Abyss
6. I Could Care Less
7. The Appetite
8. Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
9. End of the Line
10. Dead to Rights
11. Clouds Over California
12. Ruthless
13. Meet the Wretched
Interview - Jeff Kendrick  (Devildriver)




DEVILDRIVER have just started off on a massive tour across Europe, showcasing their new "Winter Kills" album. Just before one of their first shows in Munich, I sat down with their guitarist, Jeff, to chat about a bit of everything. From record labels to the new album, from crazy fans to Jeff's side business, we covered it all!

Since the release of your self-titled album over 10 years ago, DEVILDRIVER has run like clockwork, releasing a new album exactly every two years. Is that intentional or is that something that just happened?

I think it is intentional, but it's also how the schedule works out too. There's like a certain amount of time allotted for each thing, and I guess it's always on everyone's mind every year and a half or so. We don't take breaks and then start from scratch to write. It's an ongoing process: there's always the record being done or a tour. It's always a balance between those.

I see you switched labels for the "Winter Kills" album. Why did you leave Roadrunner?

It was just the right decision at the time for the band. We handled it the right way, and it seemed to work out best for everybody.

And why did you decide to go with Napalm?

I think it's a combination of a lot of things. They were very into the band from the beginning. It was a good situation because they're a label that wants to prove they can handle a band that has been around for years. And for us, we want to be with a label that's going to treat the band well. So that's kind of the situation we were in.

"Winter Kills" is also the first album with your new bassist Chris Towning. Having a new member and a new label must mark a new era for DEVILDRIVER in some ways. What have these changes meant musically for DEVILDRIVER?

Well, actually Chris was in the band, but John and I and Mike did the album. But saying that, since Chris has been in the band he has had a big influence on the band, and we've already started to write songs and he'll have some input. It'll be good! I don't think the label has really changed the band as far as the sound goes. The one thing that has always happened it the band has always done what they want to do, regardless of many, many other factors. There's always been this cohesion within everyone to do music a certain way, and it's like it's impervious to anything else. Nothing can affect it at all.

"Winter Kills" was written on the road while touring with COAL CHAMBER, whilst a number of your previous albums have been written in quasi isolation at Sonic Ranch Studios. How did this affect the writing process and the sound that came out of it?

I think that's probably a Dez question. I don't know exactly if Dez wrote "Winter Kills" on tour with COAL CHAMBER, or what he did exactly. But I know for a fact, speaking for him, when he's done stuff in the past, he usually isolates himself and does that. But that's about the extent to which I can answer that.

How does the song writing process work? Do you each take part in it?

People write things by themselves and everyone together. It's like a combination of both. At some point everyone gets together at Mike's house and we record in Mike's studio. We don't so much get in a room anymore and play our instruments; we just find something that works best for us. That's what we've been doing since "The Fury of our Maker's Hand" and I think it's only gotten better and better, and I don't see anything changing.

In comparison to "Beast", "Winter Kills" is considerably slower. Did you consciously set out to do something different?

That's a good question, and yeah, I think in some of the songs the emphasis was put more on the vocals versus like in the past like "Beast" was trying to be more technical, and I think that we did songs that are not any less intricate or less technical, I think that maybe their tempos are a little bit slower and there's more emphasis on the groovy aspects of the band that we've cultivated in the past. And more to try and be a focal point with the vocals and the choruses and stuff like that, whereas "Beast" was like who could get to the finish line first in a race, everyone was going as fast as they can.

"Winter Kills" contains a cover of the song "Sail" by AWOLNATION. What made you decide to do a cover?

Dez heard the song and he sent it to us, and everyone was really off the bat wanted to do it. And it was as simple as that. Everything kind of worked out great with that, just everything about the song; from the original to how the band did it. It's been really good for the new album and people loved it live. We're having fun with it!

What made you decide to play it live in the place of an original DEVILDRIVER track?

Well, for one, people really like the song, and it has been really popular. I think that it's the type of song that we can play well live, and I think that people will be really receptive to it live. And we've tried a lot of the new songs and stuff, and we are capable of playing a bunch of them. Things will rotate in and out you know. There are songs we've always played, but we make the best effort to try and take new stuff in and out, or if it's even rehashing old songs. Because the fans don't want see the same songs at every show, and we really sure as hell don't want to play the same songs at every show, besides the ones that we have to.

In terms of fans, a band as big as DEVILDRIVER must have its fair share of crazy ones. Are there any particularly memorable ones?

I would say guys, or even girls, that get the band's logo tattooed or something crazy on their head. You know, we're grateful for the fans, and that's a pretty… I wouldn't necessarily even call it crazy. I'd say it's undying loyalty; they're all about the band, it's important to them. And I think we love to do this, and we put a lot of work into it. To see someone like kind of show their dedication by getting that I think is really cool. Yeah, we've had crazy fans in a good way, and we've had crazy fans in a bad way, no more or less than any other bands. But I would say that's usually the best thing, because sometimes you have no idea even how much that particular person is into the band. Like you don't know if saved their life or whatever, but you know when they get like a tattoo or whatnot that they are really really dedicated, and it's like you don't have to say anything else besides that it's cool.

How does that feel knowing that there are people to whom your work is so important that in some cases, as you say, you've even saved their lives?

I think it's great because music is a driving force in people's lives and I think that it brings more good than bad, and I think that to have an effect on someone's life to that extent… Because there is a lot of time, and a lot of passion, and a lot of intensity that we put into being a musician, and you know, we get lucky enough to record an album and whatnot. I think that it's cool; it definitely makes it gratifying.

Your logo, the Cross of Confusion represents questioning everything around you. Is this a message you try to promote as a band, or what do you try to convey?

I'm sure to everyone in the band it has a different level of questioning everything, but you could apply it to so many different parts of your life. I know for myself: yes, I definitely agree. Overall it's a positive message that we try to spread. That is something that everyone in the band would want to convey because we all enjoy playing this. No-one goes up there on stage and feels terrible after the show. We enjoy the music. The subject matter can vary from song to song, but it's an overall positive message, and we want people to enjoy themselves when they come to the shows, and have fun.

Your website "All Access" gives you control as a musician, is that something that is important to you, to have some level of independence from record labels?

I think that's part of it, part of the idea right there. I think that it's just everything from me trying to figure out something besides playing in the band for some stability in life, and having an outlet, as this is an outlet for things. All Access is an outlet for other things and I think there is a lot of stuff yet to be figured out in its business model, and I think that we have a shot at being one of the businesses that can change things in a positive sense, because it seems like everyone is still kind of hitting a brick wall. It's something that I think we can make very successful in a bit more time.

Great! Thank you very much for your time!

Thank you. 

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