You do not come across very many bands that pump out “Top 5” albums on a consistent basis. So far, The Devil Wears Prada have done just that.
Coming off the groundbreaking 2011 release (Dead Throne), the Ohioans set their sights on a live album/DVD combo (Dead & Alive), only to jump right back into the writing process and put forth yet another earth-shattering masterpiece.
8:18 (interestingly enough, did not release on August 18th, nor did it release at 8:18 am or pm) is by far the band’s most dark-sounding album to date. I will be the first to admit, it will most definitely take a few listens to firmly grasp onto the tracks and accept them as TDWP’s offspring. Honestly, I anticipated this upon listening to “Martyrs” multiple times and constantly found myself listening/searching for something more. As oftentimes I do with this band, though, I fully gave in to its awesomeness.
As a band, they have seemingly captured more of the traditional “hardcore” sound, most notably in the title track. Most will give credit to Mike Hranica for this little note, and I fully agree. Hranica seems to add several new elements to his vocal range (powerhouse at this point in his career) with each new record they release. The thing I love most about him is that he never abandons pieces of his past, continually layering these developments into his work – genius.
To contradict my previous paragraph’s opening statement, TDWP further plant themselves deeper into the growing metalcore scene. At this point in time, it is my opinion that they have escalated past their competition, given their continuous growth and ingenuity. Tracks like “Care More” and “8:18” will absolutely cause a double-take of sorts, but with each passing listen (glance) your appreciation for it grows exponentially, which further backs my point.
Hranica and company open with the eeriest and thickest track they could rustle up. “Gloom” is, well, gloomy as all hell. It is ridiculously reminiscent of “Escape” off the Zombie EP. The unsettling is just getting started however, as they nearly repeat the amount of “heavy” with the second and third tracks (“Rumors” and “First Sight”). However, clean vocalist Jeremy DePoyster finally makes an appearance – but the general tone and feel continues to spiral toward daunting. I’m just going to pause to say this: the breakdown in “Rumors” is stunning.
Speaking of breakdowns – being such a breakdown fanatic, this record has some of the most underrated moments of sheer force and magnitude you could ever imagine. For instance, the end of “Martyrs” is quite simply, brutality at its finest. “In Heart”, the album’s closing track – as well as my personal favorite – displays the most melodic chorus ever found within a TDWP record, not to mention its bridge/breakdown combo (placed perfectly in the middle) is one of the best things I’ve ever heard.
The more listens you put into 8:18, the more you will get out of it. There are moments where I hear pieces of the Zombie EP, then I hear some Dead Throne bits mixed in – and then, I hear something entirely new. I suppose that is what makes The Devil Wears Prada so great. While my opinion may be skewed in some ways (more than one, definitely), this record will be received with high regard in the metalcore and hardcore communities – I have no doubt about that. So, even taking into consideration my undying, unwavering love for this band – don’t take what I say with a grain of salt (is that the saying?).