Review Summary: Plenty of good left on Devour the Day's debut, but a few too many stale tracks ruin what could have been more.
Whenever a band is formed at the demise of another, it is almost nearly impossible to shake off connections to the original group. Alter Bridge may be a pretty great hard rock outfit, but they'll always be associated with Creed, no matter how good they end up. Following the breakup of Egypt Central, bassist Joey "Chicago" Walser and drummer Blake Allison formed Devour the Day, and since then, they’ve released one top ten active rock single in “Good Man”, and toured with bands like Hinder, Sevendust and Otherwise. Those bands alone should give you a pretty good idea about Devour the Day’s image and sound. Now, Egypt Central were certainly never a bad
band, but they were nothing more than a nu/alt- metal outfit playing in a dying (or perhaps, already dead) genre. Devour the Day honestly aren’t that much different from Egypt Central; sure, the vocals are a bit dissimilar, but their general sounds are pretty much alike.
Devour the Day’s greatest talents are writing big, anthemic choruses, and they really shine on Time and Pressure
. “Good Man” is one of the best tracks on the album, mainly because of the strong, passionate vocal work. Allison lets out some pretty rockin’ screams over Walser’s infectious guitar riff, and the end result is pretty memorable, especially for modern hard rock. The soft vocals in the opening verse transform beautifully into the loud, foot-stomping chorus, and for a debut single, it's pretty good. “Blackout” has a fist-pumping chorus and great lyrics about conformism, and is easily the most infectious song on the album, even if the bridge is pretty weak lyrically. “Move On” and its cry of “I’m not done fighting yet” may seem a bit clichéd, but Allison’s energetic vocal delivery really nullifies the negative effect of the cheesy lyrics.
Unfortunately, after “Move On”, highlights are scarce, and misfires are abundant. The hook of “Handshakes to Fist Fights” is devoid of any energy or personality whatsoever, and Allison’s cry of ‘Gone too far, too far to go back / relapse and go back to rehab’ sounds forced and lifeless. “Crossroads” also suffers from the same lack of energy; the bland beat plus weak vocal delivery equals an unmemorable waste of album space, while “You and Not Me” has a chorus that sounds like a carbon copy of “Stand Up!” by All That Remains (a weak song to begin with), mainly due to the identical riffs.
However, the album closes with “The Drifter”, a powerful acoustic ballad that highlights the evils of drug addiction. It’s unique, especially since it’s the only slow song on the album, and is a great break from the hard rock on the rest on the record. Lines like “He’s a drifter and a gambler, he’s a lonely rolling stone” and made even more powerful through Allison’s melancholy and strained vocal delivery.
Overall, Time and Pressure
is a decent debut effort from Devour the Day, but at the same time, it sounds very much like a first record. Some songs play it a little too safe for their own good, and the album lags after the sixth track, not offering a highlight until “The Drifter”. The songs in between range from snoozers to generic radio crap, but for a hard rock debut album, it’s not too bad. It may not innovative or groundbreaking, but it doesn’t try to be. It’s a damn good freshman effort from guys who have been in the hard rock scene for ten years, and really, who could ask for more?