By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
Back in 2014, it was announced that Sunset rock Gods Mötley Crüe would be retiring from active touring after 30+ years of rock ‘n’ roll debauchery. During that time, the world of country music decided to honor the band that made “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” a lifestyle choice with a tribute album, Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Mötley Crüe. This year, heavy metal bad boys DevilDriver decided to extend the same courtesy to country music by honoring outlaw country artists with their own tribute album, Outlaws ‘til the End, Vol. 1. It has been well received so far by metal loyalists. DevilDriver has decided to tour the country once again to show fans how outlaws run the show. Joining DevilDriver for the Outlaws Til the End Tour are the viciously sweet Raven Black and Ukrainian metalcore desperados Jinjer. They held the Whisky hostage on November 16th, and the law was afraid to come in.
I have heard of Raven Black, but I have not seen before that night. After witnessing them, they are like a dark, dollhouse-like carnival who can be sweet but lethal. Not only do they play blistering metal, but they also bring a sense of theater to their performance. Fronted by songstress Raven Black, she is like a cross between Harley Quinn and a creepy porcelain doll. Her voice is something unique, going from an innocent childlike lullaby singer to a ferocious beast, just like Maria Brink of In This Moment. She also has magnificent stage presence. Her guitarist, calling himself the Doctor, is mad scientist with his instrument, creating monstrous riffs. Their drummer and bassist, named Muppet and Stitches respectively, help complete this freak show that makes me want to run away and join a twisted circus. Raven Black played an array of freakish tunes Los Angeles has grown to love hearing, from “Spider” to “Sticks ‘N’ Stones,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Scars,” “13,” “Dollhouse” “Break the Box,” and “Seven Sins.” The sinister performance from Raven Black, who was a great opener.
Full Raven Black gallery below:
Up next was a metalcore group from Ukraine who I have been wanting to see for a couple years. They call themselves Jinjer, and did they bring the groove. Jinjer has developed a huge following and reputation for their ruthless style of metalcore, groove metal, and djent. Frontwomen Tatiana Shmailyuk was very entrancing to watch on stage, swaying her hips back and forth almost like a belly dancer, all the while being an aggressive beast on the microphone. She can also sound angelic when the occasion calls for it in the songs. Roman Ibramkhalilov shredded on guitar with power and force, while bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov and drummer Vladislav Ulasevich laid down infectious, groovy beats. Since I am a big supporter and follower of the djent style, Jinjer played it to greatness with songs like “Words of Wisdom,” “I Speak Astronomy,” “Ape,” “Who’s Gonna Be the One,” “Pisces,” and the closer, “Sit Stay Roll Over.” They even played a couple of new songs which I believe will be featured on their upcoming EP, Micro. Jinjer was everything I thought they were when I first listened to them on their 2016 LP, King of Everything. Hope they come back to the states very soon.
Full Jinjer gallery below:
I have already seen DevilDriver 3 times, and each time is better than the last. The group was formed by Coal Chamber mastermind Dez Fafara, who remains the sole original member. In my mind, he is one of the best and one of the most vicious metal vocalists today. As soon as he puts his hands on the microphone, he becomes a monster that the fans embrace. There were some awesome riffs and solos performed beautifully by the guitar duo of Mike Spreitzer and Neal Tiemann. Ever since joining DevilDriver in 2015, Tiemann has left his mark with the band, and the fans cannot get enough of his lead performance. Austin D’Amond is force to be reckoned with on the drums, while Diego Ibarra continues his dominance on the bass since joining in 2016. For a good hour and a half, DevilDriver held the Whisky hostage, and the fans surrendered their will to the music. From “Ruthless” to “Hold Back the Day,” “Hangman’s Noose,” “Grin Fucked,” “My Night Sky,” and “Clouds Over California.” One cover they performed was from the Outlaws record, Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey Run,” and they did the song justice. DevilDriver put the nail in the coffin with their popular closing number, “End of the Line.”
Full DevilDriver gallery below:
The Whisky was dominated by 3 amazing metal performers whose brutal nature suited the metalheads of the night very well. I even ran into my metal band friends in Carla Harvey, Heidi Shepherd and Henry Flux of the Butcher Babies, and Otep. DevilDriver showed up and laid waste to the fans, Jinjer brought their djent and death metal “A” game, and Raven Black made it okay for us to be freaks. It was like the Wild West at the Whisky, no law, but good old-fashioned freedom and mayhem. That concludes another exciting evening at my favorite Sunset establishment. To DevilDriver, Jinjer, and Raven Black, I salute you. Horns up!!!