Sound — 9
One word of caution before this review: The Devil Wears Prada is a love or hate band. Whether you dislike the band due to the vocals, multiple breakdowns, or just the fact that many Myspace tween fangirls worship them, this album is still a solid metalcore effort, and all the musicians step up their game in melody and intensity. On their two previous efforts, The Devil Wears Prada have mixed melodic and screaming vocals with brutal breakdowns, metalcore riffage, breakdowns, keyboard/synth atmosphere, and breakdowns... Did I mention breakdowns? Though many of the breakdowns in this album have been tweaked, fine-tuned and laden with new heaviness, most of the utter breakneck brutal palm muting riffs of Plagues and Dear Love have been replaced with more melodic lead guitar parts, something mostly absent on their previous efforts. The clean vocals have been improved, and the leads and keyboard melodic parts have taken a larger role, such as straight keyboard bridges and synth sub-sections and various atmospheric layered riffs. The production has been improved, and the songs feel more layered. This is by far TDWP's most accessible, and arguably best, album yet.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of the band haven't changed much. The usual Christian metalcore lyrics have been inserted, which could be either a problem or a blessing depending on who is listening to them. Though the lyrical themes haven't changed, they have improved, as clean singer Jeremy cries for the listener to not get caught up in the "branches" of life, and instead look to the "roots" of their problems. Their Christian beliefs help the atmospheres take more meaning and significance in their compositions. The vocals are definitely different from their previous LPs. Clean vocalist Jeremy has improved, as his voice soars over the music. Mike's screams have, arguably, deepened, and some say his voice has weakened. There definitely is a little loss in his former tone, and certain songs he takes a little too much space in, however, this could be mainly due to production and not due to his voice. I believe it is a little bit of both. So, in short, the lyrics and vocals have improved, but not taken a different form.
Overall Impression — 8
As stated before, The Devil Wears Prada is a love or hate band. Their style of Christian metalcore is not anything that hasn't been done before. However, this is where TDWP shines: Christian metalcore simply hasn't been this good since (fellow Christian artists) Underoath and Norma Jean's earlier days, and this album contains elements that will attract non-Christian metalcore fans as well. This album is a blatantly larger step up in every way for the band, and makes Plagues look like a practice EP. Like it or not, The Devil Wears Prada will be around for a while, as this latest effort proves.