Review Summary: Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord is what happens when too much is attempted. By trying to include too many influences and parts The Devil Wears Prada ultimately did little to truly separate themselves from the bands that influenced them.
The Devil Wears Prada are generally considered in hot or cold terms. They are either terrible or terriffic. A lousy Christian scene band or an awesome metalcore band. I just can't seem to agree with either of these stances.
The truth be told, The Devil Wears Prada are simply average. The songs off Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord are reminiscent of the usual metalcore fare, ranging from gimmicky introduction and intermission songs that try to to produce a horror movie-esque vibe to average palm-mutted chugging breakdowns that are half guitar, half empty space, and tons of kick pedal.
The album appears to have tons of different influences. Sadly, the mediocre parts of all the influences are all that really show. Instead of producing a truly original and interesting album, what came out was a boring and uninspired first showing. By trying too hard to be unique, The Devil Wears Prada winds up being nothing other than generic.
In just about every song off of Dear Love, you'll find a combination of all or most of the following: high pitch vocals, standard growling, a few death metal style screams, forced keyboards, over-distorted power chords, palm-mutted breakdowns, pretty good drumming, almost no bass to be heard, and tons of references to Christianity. Sound familiar? Besides the keyboards, theres hundreds of bands out there that do the same thing.
The album starts off with the "The Ascent", a minute long introduction that has some creepy sounding effects and vocals. This song rolls over into the true first song, "The Gauntlet Of Solitude". It begins with some upbeat drumming and some neat guitar work. The screaming sounds pretty good here, but the song quickly shifts to a slower part proceeded by a random keyboard fill. The entire album seems to follow this formula: quick tunes, random fill or bridge, slow tunes, rinse and repeat.
The guitar playing is pretty basic. Theres power chords and the occasional pinch harmonic. Throw in breakdown and a clean, slow part and you have the basic structure of the songs. The bass is almost nonexistent, except for at the ending of "Dogs Can Grow Beards All Over". This is the one song on the album that actually shows true creativity and potential. The ending breakdown is a great combination of the usual instruments and keyboards. This is how the band should sound.
Instead they go right back to the more generic stuff with "And The Sentence Trails Off".This song has some interesting vocals, but the rest doesn't seem to go together. The keyboard sections seem forced and don't add anything to the music except some slight ambience effects toward the end and the bass is no where to be heard. The same can said of the following track, "Rosemary Had An Accident". The song is decent, with a mixture of clean and screaming vocals. Once again the keyboardist plays more background noises than actual riffs. The breakdown at the end of the song lasts around two minutes and has some cool sounding drum fills, but nothing else of note other than a repetitive guitar riff and tons of kick drumming.
"Redemption" follows, which is just twenty-nine seconds of piano swelling. The final four songs are all similar to the rest of the album, but feature terrible names. "Swords, Dragons, and Diet Coke", "Who Speaks Spanish? Colon Quesadilla", and "Texas Is South" are examples f this. "Swords, Dragons, And Diet Coke" has a bit more keyboard in it than a lot of the other songs, but as usual it doesn't really add anything substantially to the music.. "Who Speaks Spanish" has a Senses Fail style guitar work and more slow, plodding sections that feature some chanting style vocals. The penultimate song, "Texas Is South", is probably the most generic out of all the tracks on the album, but does have a pretty neat sounding breakdown toward the middle. The last song, "Modify The Pronounciation" features a combination of either deep growls and singing for the last half of the song and just sounds repetitive and forced. The album ends with the lyrics "I'm asking for your forgiveness God. Lay her to rest, lay her to rest." After all, you can't have a metalcore album without a reference to a dead loved one.
Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord is an example of when too much creates too little. By trying to include too many influences and parts the band ultimately did little to truly separate themselves from the bands that influenced them. The good news is that The Devil Wears Prada shows tons of potential, as long as they turn up the bass and focus more on being themselves and just let loose.