The Devil Wears Prada Born Of Osiris The Word Alive Saturday, March 21, 2015 Hawthorne Theatre 503-233-7100 1507 SE 39th Ave, Portland, OR 7pm (doors open at 6pm). All Ages. $21.00 advance tix from Cascade Tickets. $24.00 at the door. ABOUT THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA-- Mystifyingly taking their name from a popular chick lit bestseller, the Devil Wears Prada is easily one of the most bizarrely named bands of their time. Since the group is a Christian metalcore act from Dayton, OH, one assumes that the band name was chosen not because the sextet is a foe of former Vogue editor Anna Wintour, but metaphorically, as in "the devil is a deceptively appealing figure." The Devil Wears Prada formed in 2005, consisting of singer and lyricist Mike Hranica (who handles the death growl vocals), guitarist and vocalist Jeremy DePoyster (who does the clean vocals), guitarist Chris Rubey, bassist Ziggy "Trick Daddy" Jerome, keyboardist James Baney, and drummer Daniel Williams. This lineup recorded the 2005 EP Patterns of a Horizon, which was self-released with individual hand-painted covers. Signing to Victory Records' positive-themed subsidiary Rise Records and replacing Jerome with new bassist Andy Trick, the Devil Wears Prada released Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord in the summer of 2006. After selling more than 30,000 units of their debut, they went back to the studio and began plugging away on 2007's Plagues. With Roots Above and Branches Below followed two years later in 2009. Hranica and Rubey also have an experimental grindcore side project band called xGUMBYx. ABOUT THE WORD ALIVE-- A full-length debut is a pivotal moment for most bands, but for Phoenix's the Word Alive, it's a battle-tested triumph. Considering the countless miles the band has traveled in the year since their 2009 EP release, Empire, and the obstacles the six-piece has had to overcome along the way, every track of Deceiver pulsates with the passion and fury of a conquering army. To be sure, the forthcoming LP is the very definition of "shock and awe." After traveling to Ocala, FL to record with up-and-coming producer Andrew Wade (A Day To Remember, VersaEmerge), The Word Alive resurfaced from the studio armed with debut album Deceiver, a challenging, genre-bending opus that fully showcases the considerable abilities of one of heavy music's true rising talents. The album, mastered by Alan Douches and featuring guest performances by Dave Stephens from We Came As Romans and Levi Benton of Miss May I, offers fans all that they love about The Word Alive, and so much more. The Word Alive was formed originally as a side project by ex-vocalist Craig Mabbitt (Escape The Fate, Blessthefall), who was replaced by singer Tyler "Telle" Smith (formerly of Greeley Estates and In Fear And Faith) when Mabbitt exited the band in November 2008. In 2009 the group released Empire, which has already sold more than 15,000 copies and spent time on Billboard's "Heatseekers" chart. Quickly winning over listeners with its scorching musicianship and Smith's hyperkinetic vocals, the EP set the stage for an even deeper, more innovative full-length to follow. "On Deceiver, we wanted to take everything that we did on the EP and boost it times ten," says Smith. "We got to do everything that we feel represents us on this album. In some parts it sounds like you could almost be listening to an ambient/indie band because of the electronic influences, in other parts it's dark and almost creepy. We spent a lot of time before writing the album thinking of how we could sample other instruments to really add depth--either keyboard parts that Dusty [Riach, keyboardist] would do, or cello, violins and different percussion instruments. "One thing's for sure," Smith adds. "On this album, when we're heavy, we're way heavier." A major difference to note among Deceiver's blistering instrumentation is the hefty contributions of new drummer Justin Salinas, formerly of My Children My Bride and Scars of Tomorrow. With Salinas now in the fold, TWA circa 2010 is ready to take on the world. "Deceiver is not a concept album, but it's got a lot of heavy theme stuff that goes along with the title," explains Smith. "Over the past year, we've gone through some big changes, and we poured those experiences into this album." The inspiration for Deceiver includes a range of personal issues, such as "Like Father Like Son," which deals with Smith's relationship with his father. "The song is really, really important to me, because it's saying 'thank you' to my dad, because if it weren't for him, I wouldn't be the person I am today," says Smith. "I'm proud of who I am, and that's in large part because of him." It's moments such as "Like Father" that provide the crucial counterbalance for Deceiver's more aggressive passages; time and again, Smith's words reveal a positive message, even amid the darkest inner turmoil. In Deceiver's blistering second track, "Epiphany," Smith describes his battle to live up to expectations, silence his critics and not let the pressure consume him in the process. "If you let people tear you down, they will," he says. "But if you stand strong, it's worth it in the end." An unexpected creative milestone was reached with "You're All I See," the first-ever TWA track to feature all melodic vocals. Smith delves into even deeper personal waters with the song's lyrics, detailing his struggles to maintain a relationship while living the life of a touring musician. Although the words are intimately Smith's, the subject certainly rings true among all listeners. "I have always wanted to do a song like this, and wanted it to be a song that was easy to relate to. Since everyone can understand every word, it was important to speak from the heart, but not in a cliché way," says Smith. "Many people deal with being away from their loved one, whether it's because of school, work, touring, the army... It's never easy, but many times it's worth it. You have to realize that you both have to need each other a little bit, and lean on them. It takes balance and a lot of optimism." On a much more bombastic note, TWA also re-recorded one song from Empire: the fan favorite "Battle Royale," tuning it lower and adding subtle changes to both improve the song and incorporate elements of the band's live performance. In fact, the group kept the road ever-present in mind when writing much of Deceiver, knowing that massive touring--including an upcoming summer run on this year's Warped Tour--would be in the immediate future. In the live setting, Deceiver will take on yet another dimension for concertgoers. "We really wanted it to be an experience when you come to our show," says Smith. "What I think a lot of musicians forget is that people are paying to be entertained. With this album we definitely thought of the live show, and how we could make every fan, or even a person who's never heard of us, think, 'Man, it sounded like there were 15 people up there, and it was just awesome.'" The Word Alive's debut album Deceiver was released on August 31st, 2010.
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