The Devil Wears Prada

8:18

Written by: JWM on 08/10/2013 10:43:54

If there is any band that has had a very unpredictable metamorphosis, it's The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP). 2010's "Zombie" was the first piece of work that in my opinion had any merit. Gone was their Owl City meets As I Lay Dying metalcore style shown on "With Roots Above and Branches Below", with its ridiculous song names and the extraordinarily boring songwriting. This was the birth of a metal band that wanted to change both themselves and the face of metal overall. And when "Dead Throne" came out, I heard something which was treading newer territory whilst also carrying over what their fan base loved about their earlier work.

Things changed even more drastically with the band in 2012 as they removed their keyboardist James Baney from the line-up. Apparently tensions festered as the other members decreased his stage presence and role in the music which is only natural for somebody that feels redundant in their full-time, well-paid dream job. It made me fear for their musical future however. Were they going to get rid of the symphonies? Were they just going to become a hardcore version of As I Lay Dying? Truth be told I've pondered this since it was announced.

Right from the start of listening to the new album "8:18" however, all my doubt was squashed with the sweeping anger of "Gloom". If there is one mood this song coveys it is most definitely the one its named after, with haunting keyboard chimes welcoming us to a much darker side of TDWP. That being said, they haven't just relied on good keyboards as there are seriously good guitar licks and technical drumming which suck you in as a listener. As they continue to blow your mind on "Rumors" and "First Sight", singer Jeremy DePoyster makes a bombastic debut onto the album. DePoyster has made quite an improvement over the band's decade of growth, reaching beyond the falsetto tone of their understudies as he now leads the charge on "War", displaying his melodic vocals. And that lead continues with "Care More", combining the lighter sampling and drab vocals of an industrial song yet feeling mostly like a bull of a song that fights to break into industrial metal.

The lyrics are far more bleak and harrowing than on "Dead Throne", and Mike Hranica has adapted his vocals to fit the nature of the lyrics' melancholia, his voice breaking and alternating from his guttural lows to his painful emotional screams as he showcases his unparalleled diversity. With the title "8:18" they reference passage 8:18 in the Bible's "Book of Romans": “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us". Present sufferings are spilled out across the pages the lyrics were written on and can be seen with lyrics like "Care More": "Talk to the radio/ Speak out loud, speak so true/ Sing to an old love/ Never forget, always embrace."

The album progresses through single "Martyrs", perhaps the weakest song of the album, constructed by a string of irrelevant guitar licks that just make it feel a tad messy. The final tracks play through full-fledged melodic metalcore ("Black & Blue", "Number Eleven", "In Heart"), the euphoric ("Transgress") and the just plain spooky ("Home For Gave").

"8:18" is an energetic, innovative and enthralling record and is the right blend of technicality, synthesisers and massive, arena grasping melodies. Although it suffers from filler on the later half of the album it still acts as an interesting listen and is a product of one of the United States' most current and influential metal bands. With a level of intricacy, texture and incorporation of other ideas they now have more in common with the post-metalcore of British associates Bring Me The Horizon and Architects. But another issue I find is that those two mentioned bands, even Architects, have written much more memorable singles than The Devil Wears Prada. I believe if they really want to be a much more memorable band this is the main issue they still need to address.

Download: Care More; 8:18; Sailor's Prayer; War; Transgress
For The Fans Of: Architects; As I Lay Dying; August Burns Red; Bring Me The Horizon
Listen: facebook.com

Release Date 17.09.2013
Road Runner

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