It was just four years ago that Devolved drummer John Sankey and former All Shall Perish guitarist Francesco Artusato joined up to write some music together. Realizing they had tapped into something, the project grew legs and, fortunate for them, one of Metal’s most respected vocalists was available in the form of Killswitch Engage’s Mr. Howard Jones. Taking shape, it was not before long that Bleeding Through bassist Ryan Wombacher joined the fold and the new band Devil You Know was born. Soon after, Devil You Know was knocking down doors, and after the release of the 2014 debut album, The Beauty of Destruction, they won the award for Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards for best new band. A record which was produced by former Machine Head member Logan Mader, Devil You Know also hit the road in the time following its release touring with the likes of Lacuna Coil and Black Label Society, among others.
Now in 2016, the band embark on a headlining tour in support of their positively received 2015 effort, They Bleed Red. A record free of the sophomore jinx, Devil You Know received praise across the board for the new collection of songs and their tour, entitled Make America Metal Again, spread out of April and May lasted seventeen dates. Presented by Guitar World magazine, the tour, title playing on the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s slogan, took over a slew of venues from coast to coast, leaving nothing but rubble in its path. Taking along fresh band ONI for the trek, the tour concluded on Wednesday, May 11th, out in Amityville, New York at one of the area’s most popular Metal havens, Revolution Bar & Music Hall. Drawing a nice size crowd for a midweek show, many were seeing Devil You Know for the very first time and were eager to do so.
A nice double touring bill was met with a list of local acts at Revolution, beginning with Lindenhurst based Post-Hardcore band by the name of Sisa. A young band, they played a set of original tunes that included “Empathy” and “Trembling Fear.” Next up was the Iron Maiden tribute band Live After Death. Rocking out classic Iron Maiden tracks with passion and intensity, they certainly set the tone for the night.
The last of the local support came from Brooklyn based band The Haunting. Not to be confused with Sweden’s Death Metallers The Haunted, this promising band is are more along the lines of Electronic Alternative Rock. Consisting of Veronica Secreti on vocals, John Von Braunsberg on guitar, Michael Vaillancourt on guitar, Dan Burdman on drums, and Matt Costabile on bass, the band came out with a stage presence surrounding them. Powered by a dynamic sound of electronic textures, heavy guitars, and the emotional voice of Frontwoman Secreti, they played a tight set that included tracks from their 2015 Nightmares album.
Taking the stage around 9 PM, the Ontario, Canada sextet known as ONI blasted onto the stage without much warning. Comprised of Vocalist Jake Oni, Martin Andres and Brandon White on guitar, Chase Bryant on bass, Joe Greulich on drums, and introducing John “D” on the Xylo-synth (a form of a xylophone), the band quickly grabbed the attendees attention, particularly due to the inclusion that many had never before seen this instrument in a Heavy Metal band. Commanding control of the tiny stage, formidable Vocalist Oni appeared to have no hesitation in introducing his band to the crowd, fervently moving back and forth and towering like a Sasquatch over the crowd below.
The band’s sound is akin to a mixture of Djent, Power, and Technical Metalcore with Vocalist Oni’s impressive ability to provide Deathcore bellows and Hard Rock melodies seamlessly. The addition of the Xylo-synth added nice texture and almost an Electronic/Folk Metal feel to the songs, while dueling guitarists White and Andres traded licks and verses that had attendees moving. Playing for a solid half hour, the band dedicated their inaugural tour to the deceased father of Bassist Chase Bryant in a touching moment before going into “Coast to Coast” and rounding out their set. It will be interesting to see where ONI goes from here, surely they will be picked up by a label, if are not already in the works with one, and will be on the rise within the next few years.
Around 10:30 PM, the house lights dimmed and ex-Devildriver drummer John Boecklin took his seat behind the throne, filling in for John Sankey, while Wombacher and Artusato made their way out to playing a nice intro before Jones blasted onto the stage. Perhaps a bit shy at first, the crowd eagerly filled in nicely after Jones jokingly promised he would not “pee” on anyone, or at least “that hard.” Opening with “Consume the Damned” from They Bleed Red, the thunderous double kick of Boecklin echoed off the walls of the venue while Artusato’s fervent shredding laid way for the vocal assault of Jones, who stormed back and forth like a wild animal in a cage. Rolling into track 2, “My Own,” off their debut, which featured nice duel vocal harmonies courtesy of Jones and Wombacher during the catchy chorus, the band took a moment or two in between songs to address the crowd. Known as being a tongue-in-cheek frontman from his days in Killswitch Engage, Jones wasted no time in cracking jokes and connecting the with intimate crowd. In giving a shout out to the Long Island Rock scene, Jones reminisced quite fondly about playing around the area for years in his previous act Blood Has Been Shed.
Moving along with sheer intensity, Devil You Know played a healthy mix between their two albums including the tracks “Embracing the Torture,” “Seven Years Alone,” “Stay of Execution,” and “The Way We Die,” the latter being the newer singles from the sophomore release. Concluding the set appropriately with “Shut It Down,” the band played for a solid forty-five minutes, interspersed with Jones’ playful banter and guest appearances from members of ONI for an epic Make America Metal Again finale. Before leaving, the band seemed gracious and saddened to see their headline run end, but anticipated their next run with Hatebreed and Devildriver that launched just two days later. The band made themselves available to fans after closing with the aforementioned “Shut it Down,” which saw the floor bobbing along one last time for the final hurrah.
The final night of a tour can be a bittersweet one, especially if all the members involved get along, and judging by the comradery, these two acts enjoy one another’s company. Devil You Know is a band that continues to build a very strong foundation that will, no question, continue to grow in the years to come. It was fantastic to see the work of Boecklin behind the kit, and, just a mere day prior, the band made the announcement that their touring drummer chosen for the run with Hatebreed and Devildriver would be ex-Trivium stickman, Nick Augusto. It seems The Devil You Know is just a haven for talent, and for that reason, Metal lovers should be sure to check out these classy dudes as they move forward.