Devour The Day Album Review
Formed from the remains of the Memphis-based Egypt Central, Devour The Day are part of the wave of American hard-rock bands that want to prove themselves as having somewhat of a harder edge, while also demonstrating the ability to be eclectic.
The album starts off with a contrasting one-two punch of “Respect”, and “Good Man”. Respect is a somewhat typical blend of staccato riffing and screamo vocals. It’s an impactful opener, but atypical of the rest of the album. Combined with “Good Man”, they’re the obvious choices for singles airplay, but after repeated listenings, to me they’re really nothing more than the gateway drugs for the rest of the album. They’re highly accessible so that the masses can get into it. Think of the album like an onion – you have to peel off the outer layers to get to the good stuff.
From “Blackout” to “Reckless” they display a variety of styles and influences, even if they are sometimes too overt. “Blackout is a tighter and more refined attempt at what they tried to do with “Respect”. “You And Not Me” is eerily reminiscent to me as sounding like coming from the latter-day All That Remains playbook. “Move On” unabashedly takes on the Linkin Park style. “Get Out Of My Way” would be one of the highlights of the album if not for the Disturbed-like trigger-sampled-background-barks plaguing its chorus. “Oath” brings the intensity down just a slight bit….
… setting up the money-shot of the album, “Reckless”. A perfectly constructed piece of songcraft with an innocent-enough sounding verse in D-Major, so as to evoke optimism, one layer of harmony added on the quick pre-chorus, and then another on the chorus. Take heed of my word – this chorus ought to be the very definition of ‘hook’. Because I am a sucker (I mean, connoisseur) for well-done harmony and counterpoint, this one hit me real hard, even if on subsequent listens the impact was lessened because I knew it was coming.
What of the rest of the album after that lofty endorsement? Well they don’t quite match it’s height, but it’s not for lack of trying.
The album as a whole is a sign of promise. The arrangements are tight (nothing over 4 minutes) without being trite. Virtually every song follows the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-out formula, with nary a solo and barely an interlude. Nearly every song had me thinking afterwards “if it were 30 seconds longer and with no breaks or bridges, I might’ve gotten bored”. At times, this would make me almost write them off for lack of exploration (though an occasional drum-pattern variation saves the day for me), but I do have to respect that they know how to keep the songs just concise enough. If they are willing to let loose, and free themselves from the conventions of tight pop-song structure, they’ll develop into a fine hard-rock band worthy of your further attention.