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Missing something more than just Mike's scream
on September 17, 2013
My excitement for this album back when it was announced much earlier this year (or maybe even very late 2012) was through the roof. The Devil Wears Prada has become my favorite band over the last couple years and I can't get enough of their brilliant riffing, lyrics and combination of metal and pop. So more was definitely welcome.
Then I saw them here in Denver at a very small show (maybe around 200 people) in February. It was the first show since they played Mayhem the summer before and was a warmup show before their co-headlining tour with As I Lay Dying. They debuted "Gloom" which was pretty awesome to hear for the first time ever being played for audiences.
Fast forward to last week when the album was put online by some website to stream a week before its release and wow. What a complete disappointment. No fan of this band will tell you that Mike's scream live is incredible. It's not. He's no Austin Carlisle, but he still gives it his all and puts on an amazing live show. Plus, his low-end vocals are fantastic so that makes up for it. And the studio albums always have pristine screams (clearly from combining many, MANY takes).
8:18 sounds like the band eschewed almost all melody and clever song writing in favor of just being as heavy as possible and that Mike just doesn't care anymore how his vocals sound because it sounds like the screams were recorded all in one take without any real effort to make them sound better. His voice is going and he's not trying to hide it. While I respect that and realize how incredibly difficult it is to be a metal vocalist (especially one who screams AND growls), maybe it's time he changes his voice again (listen to the way he growls on Plagues and then compare it to Roots, Zombie EP and Dead Throne) because right now it just sounds like he doesn't care.
This band seems to have lost what made them so fantastic and truly stand out in the bloated world of metalcore. Now, they sound like any other act trying to be really heavy with a vocalist who's clearly bitten off more than he can chew. I'm not gonna stop listening to them (or even this album), but I can't help feeling that we've seen TDWP peak and that's kinda sad.
I want to give this album 2 stars but the enormous fan in me won't allow it. People just discovering TDWP now: check out Plagues, With Roots Above and Branches Below, Zombie EP and Dead Throne for examples of what this band can REALLY do.