Friday, February 10, 2012

The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above and Branches Below


Anyone who is familiar with screamo even in the least bit should be able to recognize the name “The Devil Wears Prada”. I’ve been listening to them since they first started and I’ve never been fully impressed by them. I used to own Plagues on CD but it most likely got stolen from me (which doesn’t matter cause I’m not completely fond of that album anyway haha). This album was released right when I was in my screamo/metalcore phase where I was almost always listening to stuff like Underoath, Alesana, I am Ghost, Attack Attack!, Killswitch Engage, and God Forbid (all of whom I still love today). So there couldn’t have been a more perfect time for me to hear this album for the first time. After I heard the album, I placed my opinion that I loved it on the table and then jumped on the advantage of seeing them play with All that Remains, Killswitch Engage, and Dark Tranquility. So I had a great first impression by The Devil Wears Prada, but then I stopped listening to them after about a year or so when my musical interests continued to expand and started going in other directions (primarily the more brutal metal genres).

Here’s something that I’ve always known about these guys: their screamer sucks. I’m just going to throw that out so that I can prove to you that I wasn’t COMPLETELY brainwashed and oblivious to the bad parts of music. His screams are better on this album than on Plagues, which is good and shows that he’s been at least making an effort to improve, but they still sound atrocious and make me shake my head in disappointment. The singing is AMAZING though. Like I said in my review of I See Stars’ most recent album, the screamo genre tends to have some of the best male singers I’ve ever heard, and the singer for this band is definitely one of them. If you want to hear his singing without having to be put through the screaming first, listen to Dez Moines.

So now that I’ve described the big fault that this band has, I’m now going to shed some light on the subject by saying that this album is overflowing with creative songwriting. And I personally don’t think I’m over exaggerating because…well…LISTEN TO THE DAMN THING AND TELL ME I’M WRONG! I do know that there is music out there that doesn’t have anything wrong with it, but still doesn’t AMAZE me. Like country music; there are tons of country songs I’ve heard that have nothing wrong with them, but it’s just still not my cup of tea. So it’s completely understandable if this isn’t your thing, but no one will convince me that the songwriting skills on this album are less than mind-blowing.

There are bands out there that overuse breakdowns (i.e. Emmure, Architects, etc.), and The Devil Wears Prada uses a perfect amount. They NEVER have more than two breakdowns in a row (which they only do twice on this record) and they keep the music extremely interesting to then give you the occasional reward of a deep, slower drop in tempo and pitch. For those of you like me that love those bass booms that are played at the beginning of that one breakdown, listen to Big Wiggly Style (I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean…but whatever, it’s amazing). The breakdowns aren’t simple quarter or eighth note beats; the guitarists and drummer shake it up and give you something new and unexpected every time.

There isn’t anything too amazing about any of the other musicians besides the singer, but none of them are bad (of course except for the vocalist who should be replaced by Austin Carlie). Of course, I would assume that most of you are at least somewhat aware of the general size of this band’s fanbase that covers the globe. Although I don’t think that they fully deserve the amount of positive attention they’ve gotten, this record is definitely something worth a good honest listening to. If they replaced their screamer with a better one I would be SO much happier (yes, I know I’ve been repeating that; it’s just to make sure you remember). I would give this album a 16/20.