The career of The Devil Wears Prada has been interesting to follow. I’ve been listening since the beginning, and can recall the scene-kid obsession with the metalcore outfit taking off during the latter half of my eighth grade year. From there, I witnessed the band transform completely, shifting gears from their autotune-infested, melody-filled outer shell and taking a much darker route with Zombie EP and their raw, murky fourth record, Dead Throne. With the third new song from their upcoming album 8:18, I am left wondering just how dark this band can become.
The first two songs released, “Martyrs” and “Home for Grave”, are some of the band’s grittiest, deepest, and most reflective offerings to date. Just from hearing the enigmatic intro to “First Sight,” it’s obvious that this track follows in the same suit. The guitars produce some of the group’s thickest melodies and tightest breakdowns to date. The production is very raw – in fact, a bit too raw. Like fellow staffer Ben Wieber recently said, “It sounds as if they have giant fuzzy blankets over their amps.” While I enjoyed the slick production of With Roots Above and Zombie, the frizzy riffage is beneficial to the density of the band’s new sound. A slew of background effects complement the nasty instrumentation by procuring a very ghastly vibe – a vibe that envelops the listener and resonates more and more with every listen. The lyrics, which speak of overcoming struggle, are extremely retrospective, and they further strengthen the song’s substantiality.
One of the biggest complaints about Prada’s new sound is Mike Hranica’s screams. Some find them weak and tenuous, some don’t. I don’t think Hranica has the most powerful scream in metal, but that’s not a bad thing at all; his raspy vocal belches are unique, monstrous, and spewing with emotion. “First Sight” finds the frontman with more vivacity than ever, and his screams are nearly palpable. On the other hand, guitarist Jeremy DePoyster’s cleans are only getting better with everything this band produces, and he sings arguably the catchiest chorus of the songs released thus far (albeit “Martyrs” is exclusively screaming).
Few bands in metal have successfully progressed as much as The Devil Wears Prada has in their eight years as a band. With “First Sight,” in addition to the other two new tracks, the band is digging deep within their souls to grab ahold of as much feeling and conviction as they can. With the road Prada’s traveling down, I’m starting to think that 8:18 may only be a slice of things to come – and that’s saying a lot.
Metalcore | Roadrunner Records