Devil You Know seems like the scariest band in the world when you read the press materials.
The Tahoe-bound band offers the world “The Beauty of Destruction.” It’s built on a foundation of vitriolic heavy metal fury delivered with angst-ridden passion. It has the sound of a primal bloodlust. The super group is an unrivaled inferno.
Devil You Know is so scary that even its singer gets frightened. When Howard Jones faces the raucous audience, he said he’s thought, “Maybe I can squeeze myself behind a microphone but it really doesn’t work.”
The frontman with a thunderous, grisly baritone turns out to be a humble guy off the stage.
Amiable and soft-spoken, albeit with a deep voice, Jones is a model of congeniality on the telephone, and it surprised a caller.
“I get that all the time,” Jones laughed.
Jones fronted Killswitch Engage, the popular gold-record-making metal band, for nearly 10 years.
“I was kind of burned out and kind of walked away and I took some time off and recharged,” Jones said.
However, he was lured back to the spotlight by renowned guitarist Francesco Artusato and drummer John Sankey.
“They were writing music together and they reached out to me,” Jones said. “I ignored it for a while but when I listened to the music they sent me I said, ‘Well, I guess I will give these guys a call because I like what they are doing.’ And that’s pretty much how it started and we’ve been going after it ever since.”
Devil You Know has released two acclaimed albums, “The Beauty of Destruction” and “They Bleed Red,” and in 2014 was awarded Best New Band at Metal Hammer’s Golden Gods Awards.
“We play internationally and we are internationally born and bred,” Jones said. Artusato is from Italy, Sankey from Australia and Jones and bassist Ryan Wombacher are from the United States.
While metal is big in America, it might be even more popular in Europe.
“You go to the Download Festival in the U.K. and there’s going to be 100,000 people there,” Jones said. “The Wacken (Open Air) Festival in Germany, there’s going to be 70,000 people there. Every year they get the best bands and people come and they come from really far away. There are big fans of heavy music overseas.”
What’s it like to perform in front of massive crowds?
“It’s amazing and frightening at the same time,” Jones said. “Speaking in front of 10 people, that can be challenging, but sweating and singing in front of 50,000 to 100,000? It’s not natural.”
Devil You Know will play in a relatively intimate venue on Saturday, April 16, the 500-capacity Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at Lake Tahoe. But that doesn’t necessarily erase a performer’s trepidation.
“I like the intimacy but it’s just as nerve racking,” Jones said. “It really doesn’t make much difference. Small crowd, big crowd, you are still going to put everything you have into it. It’s still a daunting task to get in front of people. I’ve been doing it for a long time and every time I still get nervous.”
If the singer is nervous at the Hard Rock show, it’s unlikely the audience will notice.
“It’s going to be noisy,” Jones said. “We’re going to sweat a lot. I’m probably going to say something really stupid and goofy, and that actually will probably happen more than once. And you will see four guys who enjoy their job.”
“It does happen,” Jones said. “Some of the venues kind of frown on it, but if it’s not against the rules there, everyone feel free.”
- Devil You Know
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16; doors open at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Vinyl in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Stateline
Must be: 21 years old