Drop Dead, Gorgeous

The Hot N' Heavy

Written by: TL on 15/06/2009 12:53:02

It's funny how times can change - times and people. Some four years time ago, Drop Dead, Gorgeous released their debut album "In Vogue", hitting the direction of the screamo scene in the bullseye with a viscious, breakdown-ladden screamfest that was the very embodiment of everything any fringe-haired scenester was dreaming of at the time. Man did I like it back then, which is why it's funny that when the band released their vastly more ambitious concept-album follow up "Worse Than A Fairy Tale" two years later, noone really seemed to take much notice, this writer included. In fact I even neglected to review it, for reasons I hope you will forgive me for having forgotten.

In any case, should one be in need of a basic understanding of the aesthetics of the modern screamo scene, there was never a need to look any further than at the most recent Drop Dead, Gorgeous album, and this still holds true on album number three: "The Hot N' Heavy". This is almost exclusively a dissonance-ladden breakdown barrage from start to finish, sprinkled with eerie keyboards for atmosphere, and 'crowned' by the much debated vocals of frontman Danny Stillman, which have been accurately described elsewhere as "the innane wailing of a psychotic child" - or something along those lines. So yeah, I guess it seems like business as usual for DD,G.

Back on their debut, this band became a success by creating an intense stop/start, quiet/loud madhouse of a record, which made you want to claw at the walls till your nails bled, however, since then the approach has not only been done to death, but also undergone some expansive surgery to remain at least somewhat relevant. Greeley Estates displayed how much punch this kind of thing could still pack with their excellent album last year, but meanwhile, from what I can hear DD,G must have been sleeping in class. To my ears at least, "The Hot N' Heavy" has little to no features to distinguish it from the past two of the band's albums, let alone to remember it by after listening. It's one of those albums where the constant attempt at destructiveness simply ends up feeling pointless for a large part. Marry this to the fact that listening to Stillman... erh... "sing".. - can be a test of endurance even at the best of times, and the combined impression isn't exactly the best.

So the liking of this comes down to being much dependant on how much you as a listener still feel the urge for something single-mindedly aimed at putting you in stage of rage and fury. Those are seemingly the two cardinal primal urges portrayed here, and save for a relentless transmission of those, the only other things to take home seem to be the refrains of "Two Birds, One Stone" and "(The) Internet Killed The Video Star" - both of which are of that catchy-but-also-bordering-on-annoying kind which you're not quite sure you can take seriously. Think of the latest Senses Fail record for a reference on those. Me, I prefer a singer that can sing and generally just some more meat on the bone, but even if you disagree on that, it's hard to argue that Greeley Estates didn't do this so much better last year.

5

Download: "Two Birds, One Stone", "(The) Internet Killed The Video Star"
For The Fans Of: Greeley Estates, Senses Fail, The Devil Wears Prada
Listen: myspace.com/dropdeadgorgeous

Release Date 02.05.2009
Suretone Records

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