Albums/EPs

ALBUM: The Devil Wears Prada – Plagues

Release Date: August 21st, 2007
Label: Rise Records
Rating: 8/10

Website: www.thedevilwearspradaband.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/tdwp

The Devil Wears Prada profile

In recent years, the more underground rock genres such as metalcore and grindcore have become more popular and recognised in today’s modern music culture. One genre of which is Christian metalcore, and one band in the rise of this is The Devil Wears Prada from Dayton, Ohio. Their second full-length album to be released on Rise Records is ‘Plagues’, and is clearly a step up from their previous efforts.

‘Plagues’ doesn’t fail to pack the listener a punch, and features almost everything, through catchy melodic choruses, harmonising vocals, banshee-like shrieks and screams, and atmospheric yet brutal breakdowns. Through all these layers, the six-piece aren’t afraid to speak up about their faith and religion.

One of the more recognised tracks from the album is ‘HTML Rulez d00d’, which was uploaded onto their MySpace profile earlier in the year as a rough demo version. During that time they’ve managed to perfect it, and now it sounds more crisp and moving than before. From the opening harmony section to the ending screams of the breakdown, it’s one of the album’s more pop-like tracks.

In keeping with what is their usual random sounding track titles, which no doubt have a deeper meaning than what is said on the surface, ‘Reptar, King Of The Ozone’ is one of the finer moments on ‘Plagues’. A song that is very possibly about how each day we’re all coming closer towards our demise, and how we’re composing it just like a song we’d have played at our funeral. The chorus line of this track also reveals some extent of their vocal talents, as Jeremy DePoster and Mike Hranica combine excellently with “We’re composing our funeral songs, note by note.”

‘Don’t Dink And Drance’ is a track with a few surprises here and there, infected and dense with disorientating guitar riffs, keyboard/synth effects, and belting screams and growls. From the opening section it’s quite clear that this track is one of their more heavier attempts of songwriting, and also shows an improvement in the composing area too. The layer of keyboard notes over Jeremy DePoster’s vocal section is quite a sudden and moving attempt from this band, and one they’ve rarely, if ever done before. They also have a guest appearance from Craig Owens of Chiodos in the track ‘You Can’t Spell ‘Crap’ Without ‘C”, whose vocal talent flows nicely with their style.

Though The Devil Wears Prada make clear of their religious beliefs within their songs, they also add a gore and violent side within their lyrics, particularly in the record’s closing track, ‘Nickels Is Money Too’. With lines such as “Here’s a farmer that hung himself on the expectation of plenty” and “Welcome to the museum of the dead / Endless gore becomes reality” their lyrics do blend both the light and darks sides of their religion and faith.

‘Plagues’ brings about the next step in the band’s development, both as a band and as songwriters. This album contains almost everything you can expect from a metalcore band today, along with including Christianity as their main song subject. A good purchase for almost all metal fans out there, and if you’re not too keen on the idea of six guys talking about religion, then that can be set aside and overlooked in favour of some choice tunes.

Written by Zach Redrup

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EP: Proceed – Curious Electric

Release Date: May 31st, 2010
Label: Proceed Records/MudHut
Website: www.proceed-online.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/proceed

Rating:

In the post-hardcore scene recently, screaming has started to slowly been drawn out of certain bands who once did it, focusing more upon the cleans and melodies of a song instead of agression and intensity. Emarosa have had great success in this move, and Proceed have decided to take the exact same steps with their new 7-track EP, ‘Curious Electric’.

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ALBUM: Panic Cell – Fire It Up

Release Date: April 5th, 2010
Label: Undergroove Records
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/paniccell

Rating:

Bulky Jager-chugging riff-merchants from the UK present their third record. One can’t help but sigh at the opening guitar part. Then again at the ominous guess-what’s-coming rhythm that joins it. Then again at the phallic struck ‘n’ rung power chord and the entry of the textbook metal drum beat. Then again at the forced Disturbed Lite, System Of A Dull vocal approach. Then again at the ego-steeped Shitriani solos. I am running out of patronising sighs. The opening track takes every last ounce of will power not to skip, but if you do it makes no difference, because it is more of the same.

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ALBUM: Daughters – Daughters

Release Date: March 9th, 2010
Label: Hydra Head Records
Website: www.wearedaughters.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/daughters1

Rating:

What a big beautiful epitaph this turned out to be. Daughters‘ latest self titled release could well be their last if rumours are to be believed. Crashing home in just under 30 minutes it’s an explosive mix of oppressive, crunchy noise, desperate vocals and screeching, wailing guitars that sound like decayed ruins fired up with fresh electric.

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ALBUM: Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne

Release Date: March 1st, 2010
Label: Indie Recordings
Website: www.audreyhornemusic.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/audreyhornemusic

Rating:

Short opener ‘These Vultures’, despite the title sounding like what you might call your new band if it was still 2009, sports flute sounds which provide a promising portend of further deviation from standard rock instrumentation; nothing adventurous, but organs etc. bring added colour to the arrangements throughout the record. As the vocal chorus ominously orates “I’ll be gone before the morning comes” the drums enter with heavy and satisfying impact.

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ALBUM: Alkaline Trio – This Addiction

Release Date: February 23rd, 2010
Label: Hassle/Epitaph
Website: www.alkalinetrio.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/alkalinetrio

Rating:

Goth punks Alkaline Trio are back, still obsessively referencing The Misfits, making some punk noises and generally writing happy sounding music about killing. With a return to the musical style of the earlier albums, fans of their older work should enjoy ‘This Addiction’ with the same glee as they did with ‘From Here To Infirmary’.

Kicking off the with the album’s title track, it instantly throws us into a classic punk rock sound, carrying this theme up for the next few tracks before offering up an alternativ rock break in the form of ‘Draculina’ and ‘Fine’. One of the main highlights has to be ‘Lead Poisoning’, with it’s fast-paced punk style and happy tinged instrumentation, but still residing with those cruely dark lyrics that made Alkaline Trio so popular and different from their counterparts.

Even though they’ve gone back stylistically to that of ‘From Here To Infirmary’ that does not mean they have haven’t got anything fresh on offer, such as the use of some subtle synths in ‘Eating Me Alive’. They’ve taken their old winning formula, and progressed their sound to something that still had all the great bits of their days of yore, and dipped in bits of the alternative rock sound found in their more recent releases.

Sadly despite this it just doesn’t seem to have that bite they once had. There’s not the same punch you get from either Matt Skiba‘s or Dan Andriano‘s vocals. Whilst their instrumentation has gone back in time, their vocal styling still fit more in line with the days of ‘Agony And Irony’ and ‘Crimson’.

Overall this album has massively improved on their last 2 efforts, whilst there being some good stuff on both, it felt wrong in the context of the band. Alkaline Trio should be a punk rock band and not anything else. Seeing them take a huge step back into that direction with this album is a great start to this!

Written by Jonathan Andrews

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ALBUM: All Time Low – MTV Unplugged

Release Date: February 1st, 2010
Label: Hopeless Records
Website: www.alltimelow.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/alltimelow

Rating:

MTV Unplugged definitely isn’t an unknown recorded event, usually offered to bands and artists who’ve reached a legendary or incredibly renowned status, including the likes of Oasis, Nirvana, and even Korn. With this being the case, why the hell have a band with one album achieving some recognisable mainstream success like All Time Low been able to join the ranks of such artists? They just simply haven’t earned it yet.

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ALBUM: Deaf Havana – Meet Me Halfway, At Least

Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Label: A Wolf At Your Door Records
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/deafhavana

Rating:

Has the UK really run so low on ideas that American imitation pop-rock has become the closest thing we have to new music? The hyper machine rallying behind Deaf Havana is growing increasingly deafening but these 11 tracks make it all sound like a big noise over nothing.

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ALBUM: Alesana – The Emptiness

Release Date: January 19th, 2010
Label: Fearless Records
Website: www.alesanamusic.net
MySpace: www.myspace.com/alesana

Rating:

“The emptiness will haunt you” claims the album’s intro. How tragic then that just 20 seconds later any chance the band had of creating some kind of atmosphere or momentum is killed dead by weak, flaccid vocals and hilariously poor screaming. The music itself is okay if fairly passable, but it’s clear that the majority of the blame for this album’s failings falls squarely at the voice boxes of the serial microphone abusers on display here.

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ALBUM: 30 Seconds To Mars – This Is War

Release Date: December 4th, 2009
Label: Virgin / EMI
Website: www.thirtysecondstomars.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/thirtysecondstomars

Rating:

Actor/musician Jared Leto and co. have taken almost five years to release the follow-up to their hugely successful sophomore album ‘The Beautiful Lie’ – an album which stapled the alternative rock group firmly into their scene, and gave them a tough potential to exceed against when creating the follow-up. The close of 2009 brings that, in the form of ‘This Is War’.

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