The Devil Wears Prada - Plagues
Record Label: Rise Records
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Snooping around the rusty dusty corners of AbsolutePunk.net's review archives section, I was surprised metalcore act The Devil Wears Prada's sophomore achievement Plagues didn't get reviewed. So, with that said, here are my two cents - or rather, two scene points.
To start off, if The Devil Wears Prada decide to break-up before releasing a third album, Plagues is the best effort from the newer screamo/metalcore scene (a.k.a. every recent scene band that attempts to rip off Underoath) ever released. It's scenester music, no doubt about that - but if you can get past your scene prejudice and just enjoy this for what it is, it's also decent metalcore.
These Dayton, Ohio boys are a talented group of musicians assisted mightily by adept screamer Mike Hranica and highly versatile clean-singer Jeremy DePoyster. Both vocalists are exceptional at what they do, and add the depth and maturity the band possesses. All other instruments (guitars, bass, drums, synths, etc.) on the album come across as solid, but are nothing unique. It is the vocals that set (and will continue to set) this band apart from the rest of the boring scene.
Plagues is, at its center, a synthcore record. The synth is not imperious, but at the same time is all over the place, usually appearing on intense breakdowns (evident most flagrantly in tracks like "Don't Dink and Drance"). Breakdowns are many in number, and are generally as heavy as can be for a scene band, giving the album an overall "br00tal" feel. But true to the genre, infectious melodies are always found in proximity to a breakdown, which is where DePoyster shines. Granted, the lyrics during these bouts of melodies can be quite subpar at times; "Examine these beautiful faces / Keep signing now / Keep singing now," enunciates DePoyster on "HTML Rulez D00Dz," as he sings his heart out. His beautiful voice seduces one and all; from the avid mosher to the music elitist, none are safe from DePoyster's spell, which will also help listeners gloss over mediocre lyrics. The lyrics are more often satisfying than not, however; a good vocabulary and proper use of diction will please more sophisticated auditors on songs like "Hey John, What's Your Name Again?" where Hranica belts, "The concept of fashion is the one to blame / Painting the portrait of conviction-less existence... / This shall pass / Megalomania." Obscure and seemingly meaningless maybe, but sophisticated nonetheless.
Hranica's screams are another point of interest: he mainly stays in the high-pitched screech range, but at times conduces low growl ear candy, demonstrating death metal sensibility. Combine that with crunchy guitars, typical snare drums and driving bass to envision the legitimate and worthy Plagues.
Alas, one thing I'm afraid this review will communicate is that this album is, well, almost perfect. It is enjoyable, but "almost perfect" it is not. As I mentioned before, this is still something for the scene, so we see, at times, glaring lack of originality. "Number Three, Never Forget" is one such example that falls in this category quite tragically (the melody draws comparisons to Drop Dead, Gorgeous). If the record was composed entirely of numbers like the outstanding tracks in the middle of it, I would label it "almost perfect." Unfortunately, the scene still rears its ugly, undesirable head all throughout the album.
In conclusion, workout with Plagues. I know - it seems like a random way to open the end a review, but no kidding... this will enhance your workout regimen like nothing else (except maybe Rick Astley). Too pummeling for a casual listen, Plagues will fit right into your step up routine. Give it a run, you won't be disappointed.
I must say i agree with your points in the review..but the one thing that i think you critizised them way to much on is being a "scene" band. Just because the scene kids listen to an album doesnt make the band scene. If you were a real music enthusiest you wouldnt stereotype a band so easily. But at the same time i sort of see where your coming from, alot of bands are now labeled "scene" due to their listeners