Dancing With Paris – The Drought: Album Review

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If you look up the definition of the word “hard work” you’ll find plenty of meanings but none mentioning band Dancing With Paris. Sure there are tonnes of hard working bands out there, but Dancing With Paris are one of those bands that keeping working until something happens and have made something of themselves after countless touring and determination. During the past year these guys have done something in the vicinity of 85 tours across Canada, which is just nuts.

The Drought is Dancing With Paris’s long-awaited debut full-length album made possible thanks to a FACTOR grant from the Canadian Government, who would have known the Government offers grants for recording metalcore albums? If you haven’t heard any Dancing With Paris material before, don’t bother with their debut EP “Their’s Something In The Water” it is nothing like their debut full-length and as you read on, you’ll realise that is a good thing because this band has gone from mediocre to great.

Their EP “There’s Something in the Water” was heavily lamented by reviewers for sounding too generic, having too many breakdowns and sounding dull and boring. I wasn’t a fan of the first EP myself and you’ll be happy to hear DWP have stepped it up on The Drought, honing their sound with tracks that actually sound like effort was put into them. There aren’t breakdowns for the sake of having breakdowns on this album, when breakdowns are used on The Drought they’re all mostly tasteful and carefully placed.

The clean vocals of DWP are definitely not the strongest point of the band nor on The Drought. At times the vocals can be whiny, monotonous and just plain annoying. The tracks without clean vocals are some of the heaviest and bigger sounding songs on the album, sadly there aren’t many tracks without clean vocals. Having said that, there are other bands out there with far worse clean vocals than that of DWP. The Devil Wears Prada in the early days had some seriously horrible cleans and they managed to turn it around with their later material, who’s to say that Dancing With Paris can’t do the same?

The growls on The Drought sound heavily reminiscent of earlier material by Motionless In White and Farewell To Freeway (two bands that I both admire) with a little Memphis May Fire southern hardcore influence thrown in. The guitar riffs, bass lines and drums are however all pretty standard, but I actually like that the band doesn’t try too hard, sometimes hardcore needs to be simple to truly be effective. As said earlier, the first half of the album does feel a bit tedious and repetitive, with the second half getting a bit more creative with the guitar riffs some of them even sounding reminiscent of Born Of Osiris guitar riffs.

The one underlying issue with The Drought is that the first half of the album has no stand-out songs except maybe for the track In The Directions Of Sharks which has a pretty intense intro riff that makes it feel out of place, like it should have been placed in the second half of the album with the other great tracks. A lot of the songs tend to share similar traits with one another to the point where it sometimes feels like you’re listening to the same song on repeat, but luckily the album does redeem itself in the middle onwards.

I absolutely love the beginning of The Last Man, the melodic guitar underneath a heavy 8 string open string off-time chug chug is a nice touch and breath of fresh air from the first half of the album which started to feel slightly stale. The guitar work is actually quite good, with the occasional catchy riff coming absolutely out of nowhere to smack you in the face.

Dancing With Paris are an interesting band, they use 8 string guitars to achieve their sound and tone which is something that I find fascinating especially considering nobody else in the hardcore/metalcore genres really plays an 8 string guitar let alone a 7 string one. Many will argue that the number of strings is irrelevant, and I completely agree but I do find it both intriguing and cool from a gear nerd perspective that a band uses the same amount of strings Tobin of Animals As Leaders uses on his guitar.

The guitars on The Drought are super loud, but at times do feel a little shallow like they’re lacking that quad-tracked in your face feeling (maybe that was the effect they were going for). The drums aren’t as prominent as they should be in my opinion, they’re kind of buried beneath the vocals and guitars which is a shame. Considering The Drought is a relatively restricted release in terms of how much money the band had to spend (courtesy of the FACTOR grant), it’s still a solid recording job for the amount of money they were given to record it.

The Drought won’t win any awards for a genre-defining music or originally, but it has proven that Dancing With Paris have something that their EP was lacking. They’ve found their niche, and no doubt their next release will be even more of an improvement. Having said that, this isn’t a bad release at all and a testament to that fact is I’ve listened to it more than twice.

My favourite tracks on The Drought are; In The Directions Of Sharks, The Last Man, Brazen Bull and Elephant Parade.

Score: 7/10.