The best season of the year is officially here and Devildriver’s The Winter Kills Tour has officially set the tone for this summer’s hottest tickets. Opened by death metal newcomers Rivers Of Nihil and New Jersey’s Fit For An Autopsy; The Winter Kills Tour also features Carnifex, Revocation, Whitechapel and headliners Devildriver.

Long lines outside were unleashed into camera worthy circle pits as each band exposed their very best, creating a merciless exploration into the unforgiving depths of metal. You could almost feel the condemned hand of Carnifex grip the back of your neck and plunge your head deep into their asphyxiating grooves with songs like “Feed Me Rain” and “Dark Days,” the latter of which comes off their latest album, Die Without Hope. Faster and a bit more technical, Revocation who are currently working on a new album, easily established themselves as the sick riff champions of the tour. The crowd favorite and self proclaimed heaviest track of their career, “Madness Opus” rattled the foundation of the West Hollywood House of Blues as bodies jumped the air and stomped the earth to the beat of Phil Dubois’s thunderdrums.

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Photo by Vince Edwards

Soundchecking to the hilarious Team America World Police theme song “America Fuck Yeah;” Whitechapel cracked about as sweet of a smile as you’re going to get from purveyors of pure evil before nearly stealing the entire show with what sounded like the title track of their current album Our Endless War. but felt more like the onslaught of actual Armageddon. In a ravenous storm of visceral vocals, firebolt riffs and pummeling drums; Whitechapel welcomed walls of death as they led the crowd through career standouts like “Idementia”, and “Posession.” A true tour favorite; Whitechapel culminated their tour de force into the future of modern metal with the appropriately fitting track “Possibilities of an Impossible Existence.”

And just like a headliner should, Devildriver hijacked the stage and dragged crowds straight through the gates of hell and directly down the throat of the eternally damned. Moshpits were now lethal at this point and remained in full swing throughout. You can always count on Dez Fafara and company to bring the goods but on this particular tour, they’re bringing it like never before. The perfect mix of new singles from the Winter Kills album such as “Gutted” and all star hits like “Clouds Over California” flowed through their flawless set and kept the crowd in a heightened state of gratification. Topping off the evening with “Meet The Wretched” Devildriver simultaneously culminated the show and ignited the start to a very heavy summer.