Dancing With Paris

The Drought

Written by: PP on 13/03/2012 21:56:35

It's no secret to regular readers that I was a big fan of the ambient, progressively winded metalcore sound of Gwen Stacy's sophomore album "The Life I Know". I found especially their vocalist Cole Wallace's decipherable, clean scream fitting to their occasionally epic song structures ("Sleeping In The Train Yard" anyone?), specifically his emphasis on memorable one-liners that virtually carried the album from the abyss of a breakdown dominated album into an enjoyable one almost single-handedly.

Well, meet Dancing With Paris from Toronto, Canada. Their debut album "The Drought" is wielded from the same ingredients as the Gwen Stacy record, except it features less stupefying open chord breakdowns and far more dynamic guitar leads instead. Kind of like how Farewell To Freeway and Your Memorial compared to Gwen Stacy by providing enough similarity to make the connection undeniable, but not too much as to warrant calling it a direct clone. So while DWP spend some segments in chugging for the sake of chugging, the rest of their soundscape flourishes from an ambient background (think Misery Signals here) and from some clever interplay between their slower pace lead guitar and the thick, rumbling, often groovy (even djent-y at times) backbone of the rhythm guitar.

But perhaps more importantly, it is the singer, James Manning, who really makes "The Drought" a worthwhile recommendation for your readers. While his screams have plenty of distortion and perceived brutality to them, they are at all times - much like Cole Wallace - understandable and accessible, contrasting harshly screamed passages with higher pitch clean vocals to make a song like "Plurals" sound really catchy. With the promise he shows on "The Drought", it is possible that he develops into one of those instantly recognizable voices in the ambient metalcore / hardcore scene one day.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. While "The Drought" has some impressive melodies stashed within its ambient/crushing atmospheres - such as the guitars and the infectious chorus in "There's No Help For Girls Like You" - it suffers from a slightly rough production and a few glitches in the clean vocal department that need to be ironed out before the band is ready for the big leagues. Moreover, the band does regrettably fall into the generic territory on occasion, but fortunately they're never too far away from an excellent song. The use of The Chariot-esque choral melody towards the end of "Single Serving Friend" is but another example of the band daring to think outside of the box. That said, "The Drought" is an extremely enjoyable listen if you're into the more ambient, more structured type of metalcore purveyed by the bands mentioned in this review. Can't wait to hear more.

Download: Plurals, Single Serving Friend, There's No Help For Girls Like You
For the fans of: Gwen Stacy, Farewell To Freeway, Your Memorial, Ligeia
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 20.09.2011

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