With their furious ‘Zombie’ EP and last year’s ‘Dead Throne’, The Devil Wears Prada were given a somewhat new lease of life, with their recent focus and undeniably more mature direction seeing a new legion of fans that could finally begin to take the band seriously. With this, their live performance also seemed to take a marked leap forward, with some ferocious support slots for Bring Me The Horizon and some headlining dates seeing their reputation soar. Which, unfortunately, makes it all the more a pity that ‘Dead & Alive’ fails to catch the band at their best.
Much of this stems from the vocal delivery here. Mike Hranica turns in some rather breathless harsh screams which, in tracks such as ‘Born To Lose’, lack the studio punch and have an undeniably dwindled impact. Of course, given the high energy nature of the band’s live show, it’s understandable that the constant larythx shredding bellow would suffer somewhat and the slap dash performance of the frontman here really does sap much of the power from these tracks.
Clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster fares rather better. His majestically towering hooks sound as huge as ever, and in the band’s more sonically violent numbers his appearances act as a hugely affecting light through the darkness. Just take the pummelling ‘Escape’, in which amongst the sucker punch breakdowns and mammoth grooves his briefly soaring abandon provides just the right amount of infectiousness to truly hit with some heft.
Regrettably though, ‘Dead & Alive’ proves to be surprsingly toothless. The instrumentals chug and grind with the expected competence, but what we’re left with ultimately is a release which offers nothing that the studio version cannot give us in spades, and a representation of the band’s live prowess which cannot nearly match the power of actually being witness to it. One for the die-hard fans only perhaps.
Written by Tony Bliss