Review Summary: Cutting out their more cliché elements, Drop Dead, Gorgeous returns with a sound as unrelenting and intense as the concept. With the concept and style of music matching near flawlessly, WTAFT is quite the eerie ride.8 of 9 thought this review was well written
With twelve vicious murders in less then a year, the tiny town of Saylor Lake, Colorado had its history redefined. The small town went into hysteria; panic overtook the residents, people abandoned their homes, and a psychopath killer remained on the loose. It is not by coincidence that the number of murders in that story and tracks on this record are equal, as Drop Dead, Gorgeous’ second full length effort Worse Than A Fairy Tale
is a concept album. The group tells the story from the mind of the killer and the residents throughout the record. In the process of doing so they even drop plenty of their cliché core elements, bringing to the table a much improved album from their debut. With the concept and style of music matching near flawlessly, Drop Dead, Gorgeous takes listeners on a creepy journey full of rich and eerie atmospheres.
To capture the feelings present during this time of tragedy and fear, one would definitely want an atmosphere to be undeniable. A glance at the album cover reveals a madman with newspaper clippings pinned to a wall. Feelings of frustration, obsession, and fright race through the minds of all observing while the disorder of the clippings suggests chaos. These exact feelings are transferred into the tunes, especially the chaos. Gone are the verse chorus structures with the predictable hook repeated over and over. In their place are more frenzied and erratic tracks. Superb production keeps things from being excessively raw and the frontman’s vocal improvement makes things much more listenable. Absent are the wild, gut wrenching shrieks and in their place are more controlled but equally emotional screams, growls and yells which portray the sheer madness of the story perfectly.
Musically things follow the same trend and really are a step up. The album blends together elements of post hardcore and metalcore quite successfully. As previously stated the song structures, or lack of are miles ahead of their debut. No gimmicky choruses repeated three times per song, no recycled vocal melodies, and no repetitive keyboard bridges and interludes are found here. In their place are more unconventionally structured tracks which rely on tempo changes, quick section jumps, and shifts in atmosphere(s). Guitars play a blend of octave chords, and a large variety of riffs laced with the perfect amount of dissonance. In terms of intensity, there is plenty. But with the way the record is produced the dissonant chords don’t jump out as much as they did in their debut. This works out wonderfully as with them lower in the mix, atmosphere can really stand out and take the focus. However, the downside to this is that after awhile the guitar work can become quite repetitive and while always fitting to the record’s concept and themes, repetition does set in. Where repetition does not set is in the breakdowns. While there’s a handful present, the controlled number makes them much more enjoyable and infinitely more effective. Overall, despite there still being room for more improvement, some enjoyable progressions, riffs and odd structures are laid down making development noticeable in the guitar department.
Where the record really shines is with the way its concept is presented and brought to life. It is truly amazing how much well performed atmospheres can benefit an album. Keys really take things away as once again this member seems to stand as one of the most talented in the band. The thick and rich atmospheres he lays down perfectly compliment the guitar work and once the brutally belted screams come out atop of it all the end result is infectious. As previously stated keys mainly play background overtones to capture the dark, frightful, and sadistic themes. However, they do not completely limit themselves to this style and when they break out and play a brief lick during a passage, it is equally as successful. The sparing vocal and key bridge really makes for an intriguing and eerie ride. Even drums shine as some oddly timed beats with a few extra snare hits then the norm help the fury to a new height. Just about the only complaint with the concept is that at times the lyrics can get cheesy. In terms of sound, this concept is executed to darn near perfection. And yes I’m still talking about Drop Dead, Gorgeous.
It must look awful on paper; and if not awful then just plain unbelievable. But the truth is Drop Dead, Gorgeous have dropped their gimmicky mainstream elements and returned with a jaw dropping, fascinating, and just plain creepy concept album. Vocally and musically the album is about as frenzied and intense as the story is tells. Coupled with some finely tuned atmospheres incorporating snyth, keys, samples and even violins, fear is captured to the fullest extent. As the album progresses the atmosphere only thickens, as if to flawlessly correspond to the story. There is no question that the concept is what makes this record truly shine. But the overall improvements within the band individually and especially in terms of song arrangements and writing are nothing to overlook either. So go right ahead, put on the record and get sucked into its story. Wait for your hairs to slowly stand up, for your breath to go short and for your body to go numb. Results may vary, but those are indeed some of the side affects to Worse Than A Fairy Tale
Drawing The Devil
Worse Than A Fairy Tale
It Sounded Like an Accident
Donner Party of Five
Bye Bye Blues (The Whole West Coast is Ruined)
Final Rating: 3.5/5